The stare down continues between possible trade partners three days before Sunday's non-waiver deadline and Ruben Amaro Jr. remains very much involved. A baseball source said Hunter Pence is still the Phillies' top target.
That source, familiar with the Phillies' thought-process, said talks are ongoing with Houston. Pence is the player Amaro covets and the Phillies will stay in the running until the very end. But there is heavy pressure from ownership on Astros general manager Ed Wade to not trade Pence unless the package in return is overwhelming.
With Carlos Beltran off the market, the interest in Pence has intensified. MLB.com reported at least six teams are involved in negotiations to acquire Pence.
The source said the Phillies may have to move to plan B at some point if the Pence negotiations drag out, which is wholly possible considering the amount of teams involved and Houston's hand hardly being forced. The source expects Amaro to make a move regardless, but other options are secondary to Pence.