Not only did the Astros trade Pence, they did so for a high-ceiling package that could make Wade look like a genius in three years, or continue to ruin his reputation. It’s a known quantity for four prospects, two of whom could help shape the future of the franchise, or get stuck in the minors and never perform as well as their tools say they should.
Is this enough of a return for two-plus years of Pence at arbitration salaries? I’d call it a reasonable return, but not a great one, given the risk attached to both of those prospects. This deal easily could result in disaster for Houston, if Pence gets a few more fastballs in Philly and regains what he seems to have lost at the plate this year, and if the red flags on these prospects (especially Cosart) prove prophetic.
As for the Astros, they need not apologize to their fans for trading away a player who had come to be the team’s signature player after the departure of franchise greats Berkaman and Oswalt given the solid return they received. Cosart and Singleton are both a long way from the majors in terms of development, and a lot could go wrong with either one, but getting two top prospects, a potential front-of-the-rotation starter and potential middle-of-the-order bat, for essentially a league-average outfielder is a trade any rebuilding organization needs to make.
The Phillies did not trade — and the Astros did not trade for — a truly outstanding, can’t-miss prospect. The Phillies traded for a couple of Florida State League players who will probably reach the majors but might not do much more than that. Singleton and Cosart are both too far from the majors to say more than that.