Houston Astros outfielder is drawing tremendous interest from the top teams around the league, following Mets' Carlos Beltran being taken off the trade market to the San Francisco Giants.

Previously, the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves were the front runners in the Pence sweepstakes. ESPN sources now confirm that the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds have now entered the mix, in a group of 6-8 interested teams.

Pence is an extremely valuable commodity, perhaps even more so that Beltran, because of his youth at 28 years of age and his remaining arbitration years. Pence cannot become a free agent until 2013.

The fact that Pence is even on the trade market shows how far off the Astros are willing to go in order to rebuild, since they have the worst record in the major leagues.

Pence is hitting 0.307 with 11 home runs and 62 RBIs, and could be a long term middle of the order bat on any teams he is traded to including the Red Sox or Reds.

If the Red Sox or Reds want to get Pence, they will likely have to package multiple premier prospects in order to get the outfielder.

The Phillies reportedly offered three prospects including promising players like Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart, but were rejected by the Astros.

The Boston Red Sox already have the league's best offense, but only carry a 2.5 game lead over the New York Yankees, and would like to add another bat for the playoff run.

The Cincinnati Reds are on a four game losing streak, falling to 6.5 games back in the NL Central, and could use Pence to spark a run to repeat as division champions. 

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