Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and center fielder Michael Bourn continue to be the subject of trade speculation, as Houston is clearly willing to make deals for top prospects to help replenish its Minor League system. The Reds reportedly have shown interest in Bourn.
"We've been involved in conversations on a number of different fronts, and as we said coming into this period, if an opportunity to do some things we felt made sense for the future of the franchise, then we would be proactive," general manager Ed Wade said. "We're trying to be as active as we can to add depth to the organization and continue building toward having that core nucleus coming from within.
"If the opportunities present themselves between now and 3 p.m. Sunday, we'll pursue them and see where they lead."
Wade hasn't been afraid to trade away veteran players for younger talent. In the last year, he's traded away veterans Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Pedro Feliz, Jeff Keppinger and Pence and landed 12 players in return. Keppinger was traded to the Giants for two Minor Leaguers on July 19.
"We've acknowledged we're in the midst of rebuilding this thing, so we have to take advantage of opportunities if they present themselves for the long term," Wade said. "We've already done it twice here in the last two weeks with Jeff Keppinger going to San Francisco. We're excited about the early returns of the two players we got in that deal."
Rodriguez, 32, could give a contender a proven arm in the middle of the rotation. He recently signed a three-year, $34 million contract extension with a $13 million club option for 2014, which could scare some teams off. A handful of scouts were on hand to watch him pitch Thursday in St. Louis, where he allowed three earned runs in seven innings.
Bourn, 28, had his 13-game hitting streak snapped Friday, but he's still having one of the best seasons of his career. He's batting .304 with a .364 on-base percentage and leads the National League with 39 stolen bases, in addition to playing Gold Glove defense.
The Astros have several young, athletic outfielders in the Minor Leagues if they're able to deal Bourn, but they may not be ready to contribute at the Major League level right away. What makes Bourn attractive is he's got one more year of arbitration eligibility.
"We have a plan, and we want to execute that plan," Wade said. "That plan in the most simplistic terms is to get good and to stay good."
Brett Myers, who like Rodriguez recently signed a hefty contract extension, has also been attracting some attention. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said Friday that he was told shortstop Clint Barmes wasn't available, though it's not known if the Astros would be willing to move him to teams outside the division.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.