Of course we are happy about Cole Hamels signing. It does appear that money could motivate the Phillies to move Hunter Pence as the Phillies look to stay below the luxury tax. ESPN's Jose Cruz Jr. says definitively, "Hunter Pence's days as a Phillie are numbered", and that "it's a question about money for next year."
Possible suitors appearing are the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Cleveland Indians.
The Pirates are buyers and just bought Astros' pitcher Wandy Rodriguez. Rumored to see Shane Victorino as a perfect fit, Pence could be a much-needed bat behind in the lineup behind Andrew McCutchen. Ten days ago, the Pirates were scouting Pence. The Pirates recently called up centerfielder Starling Marte, one of their top prospects looking for that added boost. If Marte came back in the deal, the Phillies could have their centerfielder for years to come. It sounds like the Pirates won't trade him, however.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Ken Rosenthal sees either Shane Victorino or Pence headed to L.A., even after the Ramirez trade and even if the Dodgers acquire Ryan Dempster.
Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians:
Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM radio says that Hunter Pence would be "a nice fit" in Cleveland or Cincinnati; I have yet to find anything that directly attaches Pence to either place.
If the Phillies can get someone near-major league-ready like Marte, clearing Pence's money and giving the Phillies their centerfielder of the future, I am all for it. If this is a pure salary dump, then I am not. Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence could go, opening the outfield for Domonic Brown and whoever they get back in the trade.
It should be an interesting few days.