My thanks to the svelte Aaron Gleeman for reading through Ken Rosenthal's whole column, and spotting this tidbit near the end:
The Phillies continue to signal to clubs that they are eager to move right fielder Hunter Pence, who could earn $13 million to $14 million next season in his final year of arbitration.
Pence, 29, is batting .268 with a .789 OPS, 17 homers and 57 RBI. His value could be enhanced by the signings of the San Diego Padres’ Carlos Quentin and Toronto Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacion and their respective removals from the trade market. But few teams are willing to assume high salaries and part with significant prospects.
Look, I'm not going to take the time to find what we wrote about Hunter Pence last year when the Phillies traded for him, but my memory is that we said Hunter Pence is a good player but not worth what the Phillies would eventually have to pay him.
Which was, in the event, probably right.
Here are Pence's OPS+'s since his rookie season:
The Phillies, in their infinite wisdom, traded for Pence in the middle of that 139 season. And I'll bet you a dollar they're surprised that his OPS+ is now right in line with everything he did before the 139 season!
Anyway, Hunter Pence is a good player, even at substantially less than 139. But he's not worth anything like $13 million. So if the Phillies really want to unload him, they'll probably have to eat some money. They might as well. Otherwise they're faced with either paying him too much next season, or not offering him arbitration and getting nothing at all for him.
Meanwhile, the Phillies gave up four minor leaguers to get Pence a year ago. Two of them now rank among the Astros' very best hitting prospects. So, yeah.