• January 25, 2022

One Year Later, The Hunter Pence Trade Looks Like A Mistake

On July 28th 2011, Ruben Amaro completed a trade with the Houston Astros that sent Hunter Pence to Philadelphia is exchange for three minor leaguers, two of them (Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton) were among the most highly coveted prospects within the Phillies organization.

With his team out of playoff contention, almost exactly one year later Amaro shipped the talented outfielder to the San Francisco Giants for a package consisting of a well-regarded catching prospect (Tommy Joseph), a fourth outfielder (Nate Schierholtz), and a marginal pitching prospect (Seth Rosin).

Pence’s time with the Phillies ends as a major disappointment. Amaro paid a heavy price for the 29-year old, and got very little in return. The outfielder played well upon arriving in Philadelphia, hitting .324 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs in the second half of the 2011 season, and helped the team win a franchise-record 102 games. But that was about it.

When the Phillies needed Pence the most, he disappeared.

In the playoffs last year, the righty hit just .211, collecting only four hits in 19 at-bats. This includes an 0-4 performance in Game 5 when the Phillies were eliminated by the Cardinals 1-0.

In 2012 the team was counting on their $10 million dollar outfielder to step up and help carry the team in the absence of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, and once again Pence failed to deliver. While he managed to put up some deceptive numbers (.271 batting average, 17 home runs, 59 RBIs), the real story is told within the facts that he hit just .238 with runners in scoring position (including .167 with runners at both second and third) and that Charlie Manuel eventually had to shift Pence to the three-hole and move Carlos Ruiz to the cleanup spot.

Pence couldn’t handle the pressure of being “the guy” in a batting order, and once Utley and Howard returned Manuel even went as far as to leave Ruiz in the fifth spot and drop Pence to sixth.

Pence also proved to be a fundamentally unsound and undisciplined player. He rarely went to bat with a plan of attack, often swinging first pitches, leading to easy pop-ups, or rally-killing double plays. His defense was also atrocious, there were too many times that he would take a poor angle to a fly ball or botch routine plays. 

While his time in Philadelphia also carried its share of good moments, Pence had too many flaws and didn’t bring enough to the table for the Phillies to want to commit $15 million to him for next year. The Phillies expected a guy that could give them what they used to get from Jason Werth: right-handed power, solid defense, and a five-hole hitter that gives smart at-bats and works a count. They didn’t get anything close to what they wanted, and decided that their $15 million was better spent elsewhere next year.

In hindsight, the trade that brought Pence to Philadelphia now looks like a black eye for Amaro. The players sent to Houston have been progressing nicely, with 22-year old Cosart going 5-5 with a 3.52 ERA in Double-A this year, and is on his way to the major leagues having just been promoted to Triple-A. Meanwhile, 20-year old Singleton has a .281 average with 18 homers and 56 RBIs at Double-A, and is also a part of the Astros’ future. The third piece from Philadelphia in the Pence trade, Domingo Santana, also has shown great promise, hitting .295 with 17 home runs and 78 RBIs this year in Single-A.

When all was said and done, Amaro lost three promising prospects, and in return ended up with one highly-touted minor league player, a spare-part outfielder, a marginal pitching prospect, and two half-seasons from Hunter Pence (complete with disappointing play). The Phillies’ general manager has made some good moves during his era, but he’s also made some major blunders.

Depending on what ultimately becomes of Cosart, Singleton, Santana, and Joseph, the Hunter Pence trade of 2011 could go down as one of Amaro’s worst.

Denny Basens

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36 Comments

  • We can say that now, because Nitwit Amaro didn’t get anything in return for him. But this time last year, I was pumped that we got the dude. At the time, he was a good pick-up for what we needed. But we gave up alot more, than what we got for & from him. I can’t believe that he turned out to be such a hot mess, in the field, & at the plate. What a disappointment. It honestly saddens me. I got a feeling, it is going to take a long time to rebuild this mess, unless we start overpaying for mercenaries again, & I want NO part of Amaro’s judgement, touching this teams future. Montgomery needs to clean house in the off-season, & start anew. We still have ZERO position prospects. ZERO!!!

  • He was exposed you are correct! Unfortunately the scouts saw that too. Think a little bit will you

  • This kind of after the fact, arm chair, gm wanna be article exemplifies a lot of the jock sniffing, never were athletes, but want to be gms, look one year ago the phils were desperate for a right handed bat to protect Howard, there were two such bats available, Beltran and pence, amaro got the best one, he gave up good prospects, but that was the bargaining price, he got at least one good one in return this year

    It is real easy to criticize after the fact, but this same weenie acting like a gm was in ecstasy last year when the phils traded for pence

  • We have two very good catching prospects in the minors, one to take over in a couple of years one that will hopefully get you a piece in a trade… That’s the thought and hopefully it wil work that way.
    2012 is over, it was a disaster but rebuilding this team would be a mistake

  • I am not a Hunter Pence fan and never have been maybe because I followed him closely in Houston.

    Regardless, I would 10000% not call the trade a mistake by Reuben. Pence was highly regarded and was the Phillies best option last year to fill a gaping hole in the outfield. The Phillies were dominating last year and in the middle of another World series run and Reub rather than stand pat said I am gonna make this team better and that is exactly what he went out and did. Reub gave this team another piece to increase the teams odds at winning it all, which as a fan I appreciate greatly. It is nice to have a GM that says I know we are good but I am going to make us better.

    Now to what we gave up, who cares if we gave up Singleton? Singleton is a 1st baseman who still can not crack the Houston Astros dog poop line up. Not to mention we have a guy named Ryan Howard here, so singleton wouldnt be stepping on the field in Philly at first and he cant play any other position so the guy was as valuable to this organization as a bag full of wooden nickels.

    Regarding Cosart he is still years away from helping a pro team and the Phils have plenty of pitching prospects as is.

    Bottom line is Cosart and Singleton couldnt help the Phillies win a world series and Pence could have.

    The only thing mistake I have seen Reub make so far was giving Papplebon all that money rather than pay Aramis Ramirez and/or Mike Cuddyer. This team needed some more pop with Howard & the quitter Utley out for the first half of the season. This team also needed and still needs a future 3rd baseman.

    Oh well. Just a brutal year filled with injuries and bad luck. Was nice to see us get something in return for Shane and hopefully the catcher we got from San Fran develops.

    Last I wish Blanton was moved yesterday, I really wanna see what this kid Cloyd can do in the big leagues.

  • Funny Singleton was the number 1 or 2 prospect in Phil’s organization and was the main piece in the trade to bring pence here ….Joseph is the number 2 prospect in the giants system and was the main piece in the pence trade… That’s apples to apples .. That’s facts.. These idiots don’t deal with facts

  • Mehenski. I agree with most of your post. But then again I’m sure the bopsy twins will make crap up to argue it. They hate it when facts get in the way. Phil’s gave up a top prospect to get him and got one in return… In the meantime he gave them a better chance to win it all.
    As for papplebon … It was a lot but closers are thoug to come by and I’m sure the thought was that he was coming in to close out for the big 3.
    I heard yesterday that the Phil’s were 11-22 in starts by doc and lee… No one not even the bopsy twins would have thought that… More like 22-11

  • H Pence is not an ALl-Star type of Player adn I am not sure that most knowledgeable fans thought he would be as a Phillie..
    Over his 5-6 Year Career, all he has done is average about .290 Batting Average, 24 HR’s and about 85 RBI’s which are solid productive numbers and the thought that he being a surrounded by players like Utley,Howard would possibly allow him to expand on his stats..
    Obviously, this Season he has struggle and was being asked to be the big run producer in Utley’s/Howards abscence which he is not, he’s a compliementary player ..Also I would liketo know what other player on the Phils (Outside of Ruiz) is having a good year or even an average year.. that’s right, no one is..

    If you pro-rate Pence Phillie Number’s over the the remainder of the season he would most likely end up with about .275-.280 Average, 24 HR’s and 82 RBI’s which are close to his Career averages ..

  • Paul you never got back to me with who the Phil’s could have gotten 2-3 weeks ago… I’m sure that just an oversight on your part, I’m sure it’s not because your head was up your ass

  • Besides, without winning any World Series over the last 3 Season, any Phillie Moves have not really panned out.. Having the highest Payroll in the NL and 2nd only behind the Yankess, the Phils haven’t even made it out of the NL Playoffs and into the WS the last 2 Seasons so all the hoopla and hype about otbtaining Doc, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt can be scruntinized also…

  • What a laughable blow hard you are… Paul, there is a real world once you move out of your parents base,ent

  • I think that the Pence made absolute sense at the time. That is a move you make with a team that is looking to win the WS that year. Fast forward to this year and you are a last place team with a 178 mil payroll. They had to make a move because of the luxury tax and Pence is not worth the anticipated raise to 15 mil next year. That money could be better spent someplace else. They had to cut somewhere. I think that they would have preferred to move Lee, but his contract made that impossible.

  • haveacigar, totally agree with the closer statement and I have no real complaints with Reub bringing him here especially because with Cole, Lee & Doc you expect a lot of 7+ innings from your starters…

    if i were gm in the offseason I wouldve rolled with Bastardo as my closer, signed at least Cuddyer… That probably wouldve been a bad mistake though

  • solid points Bugsy, agree with all your points

  • paulman, so what, he’s not an all star player, but with the numbers you posted he was exactly what last year’s best team in baseball needed to compete for another championship, this year;s team is not the right fit for him as others have posted, bring something else to the table other than a critique of the general manager and the difficult decisions he has to make as the steward of one of the best franchises in baseball

  • Anyone know who are some of the Top Free-Agents out there this Year as far as 3B and OF

  • Third basemen
    David Wright
    Kevin Youkilis
    Mark Reynolds
    Edwin Encarnacion
    Chipper Jones
    Placido Polanco
    Scott Rolen

    OF
    Curtis Granderson
    Michael Bourn
    Josh Hamilton
    Shane Victorino
    B.J. Upton
    Ichiro Suzuki
    Andre Ethier
    Torii Hunter
    Melky Cabrera
    Nick Swisher,
    Angel Pagan
    Delmon Young,
    Marlon Byrd
    Cody Ross

  • Just heard Bourne is going to want 100 million… It’s the cost of doing business boys. Things have changed remember gillick wouldn’t sign a pitcher for more than 3 years? Who are you going to sign for that? Phil’s are big boys…. They will make a splash and give a chance to win

  • Paul, those players the Phil’s could have gotten if reuben acted earlier? Who were hey again? You never followed up….

  • one year later ?? how about the second they got knocked out of the playoffs it was a mistake?

    or how about signing nix, wigginton, instead of fixing the bullpen? they blew like 15 leads this year… that was the main problem

  • also encarnacion signed a deal this year, wright, youk, and reynolds have a club options, chipper is retiring… so that leaves ZERO 3b.

    and in the OF grandy has an option, bourn will probably end up back here, or hamilton… ethier signed a new deal, melky will probably get locked up, as will shane..

  • So if a move doesn’t work exactly as planned it was a mistake? Are you Paul? Have you ever made decisions? What?
    As for nix etc… Howard was out, they needed stop gaps. Bullpen was counting on stutes, bastardo, contreras, Kendrick. Quails was supposed to help. Injuries and lack of performance… Bullpen is always a question

  • bullpen was pretty good last year zoltek. they basically let maddog walk for paps. shit happens stutes hurt, contreras hurt, kendrick forced to go to starting rotation.

    from the looks of it, they may have to exercise polys option and bring him back next year which sucks. or roll with minor leaguers.

    good news is blanton & wigginton will free up 14+ more million. OF sucks. I would never give bourne 100mill. melky is my guy if im reub

  • reub just stated on 610 that galvis could play 3rd next year. uhhhh ok.

  • Galvis at 3B ?? No way, you need some Power from that position
    My Guess is the Phils Trade Cliff Lee to the Reds for 3B Scotty Rolen and CF Daniel Stubbs..

  • Paul maybe one of those unnamed players you mentioned could do it. Just admit you are full of shit. Scott rolen?

  • Cigar. Rumor has it those unnamed players paulman is talking about were future MLB super elite can’t miss superstar studs capable of 350 averages, 50+ homers, 50+ steals and 120+ ribs.

  • They won the w.s with Feliz at 3rd…(3 of the last 4 w.s winners had no power at 3rd) So who knows. I guess they could go with a platoon of sheirholtz and Mayberry in right. Both are decent as long as they are facing righty lefty situations… Adequate, much the way they started 08 with Jenkins and werth and the one has to separate themselves. At some point brown has to be their Hayward….
    Bullpen could be getting better… It’s always the wild card
    I agree 100 mill. For Bourne is hefty… But you have to pay what the market bares.

  • BOURNE IS NOT A $100M PLAYER & IF HE THINKS HE IS, & THINKS HE WILL GET THAT, HE IS MORE DELUSIONAL THAN YOU! He is a good leadoff man. NOT GREAT, NOR A SUPERSTAR, & HE WILL NOT GET $100M!

  • you can’t compare the Team with the 2008 Squad, gone are the Days Howard’s hitting 45 HR, Utley 35 and Werth 25 so all you needed at 3B was a good glove like Feliz.. You guys don’t seem to understand that the core of this Team is about 75% of what they were from 3-4 years ago.. That’s everyone from Rollins,Utley,Howard and to expect Top Production from 4 Years ago s not happening, so they need to be surrounded by more athl;etic and productive players.. We’ll see what they come up with, I believe it’s a stretch of medicore baseball by aging,overpaid team living off their past accomplishments ..

  • Scott Boris is throwing around the 100 mill number… Point is there is definitely inflation in baseball.he will get over $12 million…maybe 15
    Paul too bad the didn’t get those fictional players that you MADE UP!

  • HUGE MISTAKE…..ED WADE JR AKA….RUEBEN AMARO SUCKS AS A GM……THE PHILLIES GAVE THE GIANTS 2 FUTURE STUDS IN SINGLETON AND SANTANA…..YES THEY GAVE THE GIANTS 4 PLAYERS FOR PENCE….SINGLETON IS A FUTURE STUD 1B AND SINGLETON A FUTURE STUD RF …..BOTH TEARING UP THE MINORS……AND THE PHILLIES DEAL PENCE AND GET TOMMY JOSEPH WHO IS AN OVERRATED PROSPECT WHO WILL NEVER BE ANYTHING MORE THAN A BACKUP CATCHER IN THE MAJORS…

    THE PHILLIES WILL NEVER WIN WITH ED WADE JR….

    • CORRECTION – GAVE THE ASTROS 4 PLAYERS FOR PENCE

    • ITS SINGLETON AND SANTANA THEY GAVE UP FOR PENCE….THIS MESSAGE BOARD F-ING BLOWS

  • CORRECTION FOR ABOVE: GAVE THE ASTROS 4 PLAYERS FOR PENCE

  • CORRECTION FOR ABOVE – PHILLIES GAVE THE ASTROS 4 PLAYERS FOR PENCE…2 OF WHICH ARE STUDS

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