According to reports from Bob Nightengale, there are five to six teams still trying to trade for Cole Hamels.
Nightengale listed the Dodgers, Padres, Rangers, Cardinals and Red Sox as five of teams that “have expressed varying degrees of interest” to Ruben Amaro Jr. about Hamels. Nightengale did not mention a sixth team but none of the clubs involved with conversations with the Phillies are “close to coming up with a package the Phillies covet.”
Ruben Amaro Jr. is believed to be looking for a catcher in any deal for Hamels and would like Blake Swihart from the Red Sox in a package for Hamels. But Ben Cherington is not budging and refuses to include Swihart in discussions for Hamels.
The Phillies were involved in talks with four teams about Cole Hamels in mid-January. The Red Sox, Cardinals, Padres and Rangers were the teams discussing a trade with the Phillies for Hamels a month ago.
Ruben Amaro Jr. is not backing down from his demands and is willing to keep Hamels and have him face the Red Sox on Opening Day. The Phillies are expecting at least three top, impact prospects for Hamels. Rumblings last month indicated the Phillies’ brass could be looking for a package of four prospects, plus the team acquiring Hamels to take over his entire contract.
As has been the case since last season when the Cubs put in a waiver claim for Hamels, the contract is not believed to be the problem. It’s the combination of the prospect package and taking on his entire contract. Teams are not willing to pay what the Phillies are asking without receiving financial help with his contract.
Last month it was reported a package from the Cardinals could include players such as RHP Carlos Martinez or LHP Marco Gonzalez plus either OF Randal Grichuk or OF Stephen Piscotty. And the Phillies were reportedly looking for INF/OF Mookie Betts and/or C Blake Swihart in a deal from the Red Sox.
And don’t count out the Padres in the Cole Hamels talks. While A.J. Preller does not want to include Wil Myers in a trade for Hamels, Preller is looking for a top of the rotation starter and Ruben Amaro Jr. “covets” Andrew Cashner according to Jeff Passan, plus the Padres are not on Hamels’ no trade list.
The Cubs have not been connected to the Phillies and Cole Hamels since signing Jon Lester. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer said in November they were not looking to exchange bats for arms.
While a package including Welington Castillo might be appealing to the Cubs, the Phillies are looking for projectable impact talent in return for Hamels. And with the starters that should be on the free agent market next off-season, sending three or four top prospects from the system to Philadelphia for Hamels doesn’t appear to fit into the Cubs’ plan.