Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence may now be the best bat on the trade market, now that Carlos Beltran has been traded to the San Francisco Giants. Two playoff rivals of the Giants who lost out in the Beltran sweepstakes have now shifted their focus to Pence.

According to Sports Illustrated, the Philadelphia Phillies reportedly offered a package of top prospects including Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart and for Pence, but were rejected.

The Atlanta Braves, meanwhile, now have Pence and the Padres' Ryan Ludwick at the top of their list, according to Fox Sports.

Pence is having an excellent year for the Astros hitting 0.307 with 11 home runs and 62 RBIs. The 28 year old outfielder and two time All-Star may actually be more valuable than Beltran because of his youth and the fact that he will not be a free agent next year like Beltran.

Indications that the Astros rejected a great deal by the Phillies likely means the Astros' asking price is very high and will only take a deal that will blow them away. 

The Astros are willing to give up Pence for prospects since they are in a rebuilding mode, currently with the worst record in the major leagues. 

Meanwhile, the Phillies and Atlanta are battling it out for first place in the NL East, with the Phillies leading by 5 games, but Atlanta still maintaining their lead in the NL Wild Card standings.

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