ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that the Phillies would frame any future trade offers for Astros right fielder Hunter Pence around RHP Vance Worley.
The new fan favorite has a 2.02 ERA in 12 games (10 starts) following injuries to Joe Blanton and Roy Oswalt. The Phillies have been looking for a possible right-handed outfielder and Pence, who is batting .316/.361/.484 with 11 homers, 61 RBIs and a 137 OPS+, is apparently on the market.
Beerleaguer: If you look at what the Phillies need more than anything at the moment - a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who can bat in the middle of the order and won't break the bank with his salary, Pence is all of those things. He also happens to play for Ed Wade's Astros, with whom the Phillies love to deal.
In a lot of ways, a trade for Pence makes sense (as does the concept of trading away Worley, whose value may never be higher). A lineup of Rollins-Polanco-Utley-Howard-Pence-Victorino-Ibanez-Ruiz looks like a championship-caliber lineup, if all the pieces are healthy. Pence might be playing over his head with an average nearly 30 points higher than his career average entering 2011, but at 28 years old, he should be entering his prime, which would account for the hike in numbers. Also, he is controllable through 2013, though his $6.9 million salary this season indicates that a long-term deal might be the way to go.
A trade of Worley and other high-ranking prospects would probably get it done. It would be costly, but given the team's World Series-or-bust mentality and how Pence would fill so many of the Phillies' needs, it might just be time to let the Vanimal go loose.