As the Phillies seemingly approach a "sell" period before the trade deadline hits on July 31, very few names have been left off the table. The latest is Hunter Pence, who reportedly the team is "eager to move" according to a story by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Who ultimately will and will not be up for grabs when Ruben Amaro finally pulls the plug on this season is still anybody's guess. I'm sure he's tested the waters with any number of players, and would listen to calls for just about anyone. Pence hears the noise though, and he's hoping rumor doesn't become reality. Philadelphia is where he wants to play.
In an interview on 94WIP (via CBS Philly), Pence praised the passion of Phillies fans, and made his preference perfectly clear:
“I just heard [the report]. Right now. I love Philly, I love being here, I mean look at these fans. The passion is unbelievable. There’s no better place to play baseball, no better place to win, really no worse place to lose, but that’s what you’ve got to love if you’re a competitor, you love passion from your fans,” Pence told 94WIP’s Michael Barkann and Ike Reese. “You know, we expect a lot of ourselves and I absolutely love it here, so I hope [a trade] doesn’t come through.”
You gotta love that, but it doesn't change the fact that Pence will be a free agent following next season, and whether the Phillies intend to keep him beyond that depends on a number of factors -- how a then 31-year-old right fielder prices himself, for one.
We don't envy RAJ in this situation, having to make determinations on which players can be part of the long-term solution when they would otherwise still be under contract. Ultimately the decision to trade a player like Pence probably depends on the return, which Rosenthal noted may not be great. However, offers are certainly worthy of consideration.
Only one thing is really for certain at this point: things are about to get interesting.