Last week Ruben Amaro Jr. told Jim Salisbury that four teams have made real trade offers for Cole Hamels. Amaro Jr. did not provide details, which teams he was referring to or the identity of the four other teams that has kicked the tires on Hamels at some point this winter.
It is unclear if Ruben Amaro Jr. or Pat Gillick is making the decisions right now for the front office, but suffice it to say the Phillies have not backed down on their demands for Cole Hamels.
Jon Paul Morosi spent Saturday afternoon co-hosting Hot Stove (MLB Network Radio) with Jeff Joyce. And as would be expected, Cole Hamels was a topic of conversation with less than a week before Spring Training starts.
Morosi said that he’s been told there has been some conversation between the Cubs and Phillies on Cole Hamels. Morosi explained the Cubs have drawn a “very, very firm line” on not including Kris Bryant or Addison Russell or Jorge Soler as part of a package for Hamels.
Morosi thinks the Cubs would probably trade Javier Baez as part of a package for Hamels, but he’s not sure the Phillies want Baez due to the concerns about his swing-and-miss.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer might have a package of players in mind they would send to Philadelphia for Hamels. But the way Morosi understands it, “the Phillies are not enticed by the prospects the Cubs have put up.” Morosi indicated from a Cubs standpoint there is “not a lot of momentum right now towards the Phillies for a deal on Cole Hamels.”
The Phillies are believed to be looking for three, if not four, of a team’s top prospects in a deal for Hamels and are not willing to include any of the $96 million left on his contract. Morosi is convinced the Phillies are looking for one of a team’s top three prospects, depending on how good the farm system is, as the headliner in a deal for Hamels.
The Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers and possibly the Cardinals have the players the Phillies would want for Hamels and could pull the trigger on a deal for him if any of those teams are willing to pay the price. All four teams are holding on to their top prospects and are not looking to deal any of them for Hamels and pick up the entire $96 million guaranteed to Hamels over the next four years.
The Cardinals are interested in Cole Hamels and he would welcome a trade to St. Louis. Morosi is not sure John Mozeliak is willing to give up the talent it would take to acquire Hamels. But he thinks the Cardinals are a team to keep an eye on.
For the Cardinals to pry Hamels away from the Phillies it would likely take OF Stephen Piscotty and LHP Marco Gonzales or Piscotty and RHP Carlos Martinez. Morosi thinks one of those two combinations “would probably be a good enough starter for a package” but not all three.
Morosi is not sure if the Dodgers including Joc Pederson would be enough of a conversation starter. LHP Julio Urias and SS/3B Corey Seager would be enough to headline a package, but he’s not sure if Andrew Friedman would move any of the three prospects for Hamels.
The Phillies are requiring either INF/OF Mookie Betts or C Blake Swihart from the Red Sox and are not willing to budge on having one of the two players included. Ben Cherington is not going to trade either player in a deal for Hamels.
There is somewhat of a starring contest going on right now and the Phillies are trying to see which team blinks first.
Jon Paul Morosi is not sure if baseball is viewing Ruben Amaro Jr. as being in a position of weakness, therefor they are not willing to give him what he wants for Hamels. The other front offices are well aware that the Phillies have to break it all the way down in order to start building the organization back up. Amaro Jr. also has emotional ties to the players and is valuing his players differently from the rest of the league. And he’s also concerned about his own job. If Amaro Jr. is able to generate a positive outcome from the trades he knows he has to make, the likelihood increases that he keeps his job.
Ruben Amaro Jr. has reportedly told teams that he must win the trade for Cole Hamels or he will not move him.
Unless something changes quickly, Cole Hamels will be in Clearwater this week when Phillies’ camp opens. And Amaro Jr. said last week he expects Hamels to take the ball on Opening Day against the Red Sox.
Jon Paul Morosi feels now is the right time Amaro Jr. should be looking to trade Hamels because in June or July it is likely other options such as Johnny Cueto will become available. Once other starters enter the market during the season and hit free agency next winter, the very narrow window Ruben Amaro Jr. has now to maximize the return for Cole Hamels will have closed after he lost all of his leverage.