Spring Training is underway, the exhibition season begins next week and Cole Hamels does not appear to be on his way out of Clearwater anytime soon. Despite interest from a handful of teams, Ruben Amaro Jr. is not backing off his demands and is waiting for a team to pay his price to acquire Cole Hamels.
According to Jon Heyman, the ongoing talks between the Phillies and Red Sox have stalled. And Boston could shift its attention to LHP Cliff Lee.
The Red Sox reportedly like Cliff Lee and have “noticed how impressive he’s looking thus far this spring.” Lee threw batting practice Wednesday and faced hitters for the first time since last July 31 when he walked off the mound in Washington with a sore left elbow. Lee said he felt good afterwards and could face hitters again this weekend according to Jim Salisbury. Lee is not expected to pitch in the first week of games in the Grapefruit League but could make a start in the second week of spring games.
Jon Heyman pointed out that Reuben Amaro Jr. is “expecting to start the season with all the players now in camp” and that obviously includes Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee.
Cliff Lee said he’s not heard if the Red Sox have asked about him. And Heyman’s report did not provide a clear picture of the Red Sox interest in Cliff Lee while the Red Sox, Cubs, Cardinals and Dodgers have been linked rather heavily to Cole Hamels.
It’s believed Ben Cherington would rather move players of his big league roster than trade prospects for Hamels. Heyman mentioned the Phillies would like to bring back OF Shane Victorino and he could be used as one of the players in a deal for either Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee.
The Phillies are insisting that either C Blake Swihart or INF/OF Mookie Betts headline a package for Hamels and Ben Cherington is not budging on his end. According to Heyman, other players have been discussed as the two teams tried to work out a deal. Heyman indicated C Christian Vazquez or LHP Henry Owens could be two players involved in talks at some point.
Jon Heyman reiterated what many said throughout the off-season: “Some are suggesting the trading phase of the Phillies’ rebuild is going too slow because Amaro loves his players too much, and is asking for way too much.” Heyman has also heard Amaro Jr. is “looking for three nice prospect pieces with at least one ready to go to the bigs” for Hamels. And Heyman pointed out that the GM he spoke to said Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart “shouldn’t be too much to ask for an ace like Hamels.”
Heyman added that with the Phillies acquiring pitching in the Jimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd trades, Amaro Jr. would prefer top hitting prospects for Hamels. Jim Bowden has heard the Phillies would like a top pitching prospect in the deal for Hamels along with a top hitting prospect. And reports throughout the off-season pointed to the Phillies wanting a catcher included in the package for Hamels.
The Cubs are believed to be interested in acquiring Cole Hamels, but Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are not willing to pay Ruben Amaro Jr.’s asking price. The Phillies’ front office has had their eye on Addison Russell since last summer. But the Cubs will not include Russell, Kris Bryant or Jorge Soler in a package for Hamels. It’s believed the Cubs have a package of players in mind that would satisfy Amaro Jr., but it does not include one of the three players he’s most interested in.
With Ruben Amaro Jr. telling teams he has to clearly win a trade for Hamels and that a team will have to overpay in order to acquire him, the Cole Hamels updates are not going to end anytime soon.
- Full Report from Jon Heyman
- Full Report from Jim Salisbury
- Phillies’ GM Said Demands Will Not Change
- Cubs One of the Four Likeliest Landing Spots?