However, one source with knowledge of his thinking said Wednesday that Crane hasn’t instructed the current Astros general manager Ed Wade to keep any particular player – such as All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence.
While Wade is technically reporting to McLane, he has kept Crane informed of his trade conversations – including the talks that led to Jeff Keppinger being dealt to San Francisco earlier this week. And if Wade reaches agreement on a deal involving Pence that makes good baseball sense, the source said that Crane would likely permit it.
This is all predicated on Ed Wade, one of baseball's worst general managers, making "good baseball sense," so who knows. Ba-boom! But it doesn't sound like the Astros' new owner will be a stumbling block if the Pirates are able to strike a deal with the Astros for Pence.
The Pirates have been connected to Pence repeatedly, but it would take quite a bit to get him - he's a consistently good hitter, and he's under team control for a couple more years. They would probably have to start with Jose Tabata and add prospects from there. That might make some sense, but the Pirates need those prospects too - they aren't a big-market team, and thus they need prospects to fill holes when they arise in the big leagues. We'll see if any serious conversations between the Pirates and Astros develop, or whether the Pirates will look to do something a little less splashy.