The Astros are showing a willingness to trade Hunter Pence, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Rival executives expect GM Ed Wade to trade Pence, Olney reports.
The Braves, who may be close to acquiring a right-handed bat, have enough prospects to pry Pence away from Houston. However, Atlanta has interest in Jonny Gomes and others, including Carlos Beltran. The Pirates have also been eyeing Pence, who will cost a lot in terms of prospects.
Pence, 28, is hitting .315/.356/.478 with 11 home runs. The two-time All-Star is under team control through 2013, but he won't be cheap. He earns $6.9MM this year, so a $10MM payday is within reach next year, with another raise likely in 2013.