According to reports from Nick Cafardo and the Boston Herald, Charley Kerfeld was at the Red Sox facility on Monday. Kerfeld is one of Ruben Amaro Jr.’s top advisors and he was in Fort Myers to get additional looks at the players the Phillies would like to acquire in a deal with the Red Sox for either Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee.
Nick Cafardo confirmed reports last week indicating the Red Sox have shown interest in Cliff Lee. And Lee would cost less to acquire in terms of prospects but there is significant money owed to Lee and an even bigger concern over his health. Lee is owed $25 million for this season and has a player option for 2016 worth $27.5 million that can be bought out for $12.5 million.
The Phillies scouted the Cubs at the end of last season, the minor league teams and the big league club. Reports have not surfaced about Cubs or Phillies scouts spending time in each other’s camps yet. But with the games starting, those reports should surface soon.
Cole Hamels first start of the spring is Friday against the Yankees in Clearwater.
The Cubs continue to be connected to Cole Hamels, mainly because Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have the minor league talent it would take to acquire the lefty … and seemingly room in the payroll to add his contract.
As Joel Sherman reported, a team has not been willing to put together a multi-top-prospect package for Hamels that would satisfy the Phillies. Ruben Amaro Jr. has to find a team willing to overpay for Hamels in order to clearly win the trade. Plus, the Phillies are expecting a team to take back his entire contract. And that appears to be as big an obstacle as the talent Amaro Jr. would like in return for Hamels.
Teams simply are not willing to do both … pay a heavy price in terms of prospects and take on the risk of a four- to five-year contract and be on the hook for $96-120 million.
According to Bob Nightengale, the Phillies and Red Sox acknowledge “they have exchanged names and trade proposals” but with Ben Cherington not willing to include either INF/OF Mookie Betts or C Blake Swihart, one of the two players Ruben Amaro Jr. is insisting on being included in a trade, “the talks have been dormant for weeks.”
Nick Cafardo indicated players such as SS Devin Marrero, 3B/OF Garin Cecchini, LHP Henry Owens, LHP Brian Johnson and LHP Eduardo Rodriguez could be the level of prospects the Red Sox are willing to include in a package for Hamels. OF Manuel Margot is also believed to have been discussed at one point of the numerous conversations with the Phillies. Contrary to previous reports, the Phillies are looking for prospects for Hamels and not Major Leaguers such as OF Shane Victorino or OF/1B Allen Craig.
The Red Sox believe the starting pitchers that are in camp (Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Joe Kelly) can get the job done and help Boston reach its goal for the season.
While the rumors have been pretty loud over the last six weeks, the Cole Hamels watch has really just begun.
- Full Report from Nick Cafardo
- Full Report from the Boston Herald
- Full Report from Bob Nightengale
- Phillies’ GM Doubts a Trade Will Happen