CHICAGO -- Astros general manager Ed Wade was scheduled to fly to Houston on Sunday afternoon for meetings and conference calls this week with his pro scouting department in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Astros special assignment scout Matt Galante and Major League scouts Ricky Bennett and Paul Ricciarini were in Houston last week before going out for more detailed coverage. Bennett recently watched the Phillies' Class A affiliate in Lakewood in a game during which touted prospect Jesse Biddle pitched.
"We've got scouts doing a lot of stuff leading up to the Deadline," Wade said. "We'll have a couple of conference calls between [Monday] and Thursday, and I've got several members of the pro scouting group coming in again this week."
The Astros are engaged in numerous trade conversations, but Wade has a policy not to discuss trade specifics. What's known is outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn -- their two best offensive players -- have been attracting considerable attention, but they will come with a steep price. Houston is more likely to deal pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers, despite their multi-year contracts.
"As I've indicated before, at the very least, we have to be good listeners," Wade said. "We can always say 'No' to anything that we don't think improves us in the short term or long term. It's important for us to be proactive on a couple of different fronts, as we were with Jeff Keppinger, and at the same time be receptive and responsive to any other inquiries or opportunities that may present themselves."
The Astros traded Keppinger to the San Francisco Giants last week in exchange for a pair of Double-A pitchers. Last year, the Astros pulled off a pair of blockbuster deals at the Trade Deadline when they sent Roy Oswalt to the Phillies and Lance Berkman to the Yankees.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.