I don’t know where the slogan “The Hunt For Red October” started around this area once the Phillies became relevant…but it was a no-brainer when word got out Houston OF Hunter Pence would be their main target for a trade deadline deal this post was gonna be named as it is if they got their man.
And as been the case the last couple of years, the Astros once more came through as Philadelphia’s most profitable long-distance farm system organization…and Pence now is adorned in Phillies Red.
We’ll get back to those Astros in a minute. Here’s my two cents on Pence…
Phils’ Manager Charlie Manuel wanted a right-handed bat since spring training. He hasn’t been shy in mentioning it to the media at all. He wanted that bat to play RF and bat fifth, offering protection for the upper portion of the lineup. Ruben Amaro Jr., his GM, knew one was just a phone call away…to his former boss, Astros’ GM Ed Wade.
Pence brings a hard-nose, blue-collar, no-nonsense sense of urgency to a team that needs offensive consistency to compliment its shutdown starting pitching. The 28-year-old, two-time All-Star is under contract until after the 2013 season. This was not a rental. This was for the short and long-term…at least as long-term as sports gets these days.
His batting average is among the NL Top Ten this season…his career average flirting with .300. Speedy and hustles on every play. Philadelphia will LOVE Hunter Pence.
Yes, the Phils mortgaged potential players to the hilt once more to win now, but that’s how it works these days in pro sports. When you build momentum, build some more. You can’t predict the future. The potential the Phillies traded away…as they have in recent seasons…is just that. Potential.
Pence is the real deal…and the deal that had to be made.
Speaking of deals, how about what major league baseball fans are being dealt down in Houston? You Astros fans feeling good about not only losing Pence but Michael Bourn (to the Braves)? How about serving as a feeder system for the Phils since their former GM Wade became your GM?
Admittedly, Wade has had nothing to do since being rocketed out of Philadelphia and splashing down in Houston but take marching orders from nutty Owner Drayton McLane. McLane gives out money less often than the Simpsons’ Montgomery Burns…and now with McLane in the process of selling the team to Houston businessman Jim Crane the payroll of the Astros can probably be handled by Quicken software going forward instead of a full-time accountant.
Wade will ultimately be looked upon fondly by Phils’ fans who couldn’t wait for him to leave when he was here…now that he’s handed them Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence in recent seasons. Tim Kurkjian of ESPN recently noted the trading of Pence and Bourn not only locked up the Astros losing 100+ games this year but likely for the next couple as well. Houston, you have a problem.
But here in Philadelphia, hopes are high the stands will once more be filled with Red come October now that the missing piece of the puzzle…Pence…is in place.