According to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com,
the Phillies and Astros had a deal in place for Hunter Pence earlier this week,
only to have Houston "back off". This tentative deal was most
interesting because of the prospects involved in the trade. The Phillies
reportedly offered their best hitting and pitching prospects, no not Dom Brown
OR Vance Worley (sigh of relief), but first baseman Jon Singleton and pitcher
Singleton, a 19 year old playing for Class-A Clearwater,
is hitting .284 with 47 RBIs in 310 ABs. He is ranked as the 30th best prospect
by MLB.com coming into 2011 and 24th by Keith Law of ESPN.com as of July 14th.
Although he is a huge prospect, it is highly unlikely that he has any place in
the Phillies organization moving forward, with Ryan Howard signed through 2017
and other young prospects like 25 year old Matt Rizzottti (.297/.392/.518 in
313 ABs with Reading) and 18 year old Maikel Franco of Williamsport, who is
hitting .267 in 86 ABs and seems to have much potential.
Cosart, like Singleton, is a highly touted prospect,
ranked 17th by Keith Law as of July 17th and coming off a win in the Futures
game after pitching a scoreless 8th inning (2 strikeouts). Praised as the 21
year old is, his stats in Clearwater tell a different story. He is 8-8 with a
4.19 ERA in 19 games (18 starts). His 75 strikeouts and .244 BAA in 101 innings
are good numbers, but his ERA might indicate that he may not live up to such
high expectations. Keeping Cosart, like Singleton, is unnecessary because of
the huge amount of talent already at his position. With Halladay, Lee, Hamels
and Worley (and to some extent Kendrick) already proven as solid starters at
the highest level, there is no need for another starter, at least not for
another five years or so. Fellow Clearwater pitcher Julio Rodriguez, 20, is
also extremely impressive, going 13-6 with a 3.03 ERA in 20 starts. This all
adds up to a lack of necessity for a guy like Cosart, all the more reason he
should, and might be, traded in a deal for an outfielder.
The only thing stopping this incredible deal is, unfortunately,
the Astros management. As expected, the asking price for Hunter Pence is high, with the Astros looking for "four sure-thing players" in any deal for Pence, according to Stark. If super-stud GM Rueben Amaro Jr can convince Phillies-reject Ed Wade to make a deal, which I'm sure he can, the Phillies could be able to pick up Pence with little real damage to their own system. If not, expect Singleton and or Cosart to be traded for another big name, like Chicago's Carlos Quentin (Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that the Phillies "have done background work" on Quentin, while other sources suggest that the Phillies are turning all their attention toward him). Whatever the Phillies end up doing, you can be sure that Reuben Amaro will pull some crazy deal that leaves the opposing GM going, "what did I just do?".
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