Cole Hamels completed his second spring start Wednesday. The Pirates touched up Hamels for two runs on three hits in three innings. Hamels struck out one and walked two. Both runs off Hamels came courtesy of Jordy Mercer, a two-run homer with two outs in the third inning.
In two starts (five innings) Hamels has allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in the Grapefruit League.
Ruben Amaro Jr. recently told Jim Salisbury that there was “some action the last couple of days on the Hamels’ front.” Amaro Jr. explained to Salisbury that he knows “there are teams interested.” But he thinks “there’s been one club that’s stepped up and has shown more particular interest.”
Buster Olney addressed the Hamels situation Wednesday. Olney does not think the Phillies should “rush into a deal” for Hamels. But he does think Amaro Jr. should adjust his asking price. Olney reported, “For 18 months, the rest of the industry has been collectively informing the Phillies that their demands are unrealistic, unworkable and that different ideas need to be brought to the table in terms of how much money the Phillies will absorb in a Hamels deal or whether there will be a reduction in the package of prospects.”
As Jayson Stark reported, the Phillies have set the bar so high and they have “no intension of lowering it now.” So instead of clearly winning a trade for Cole Hamels, Ruben Amaro Jr. might have to settle for just winning it.
LHP Cliff Lee threw a bullpen Wednesday morning and still felt pain in his elbow. Reports out of Phillies’ camp indicated Lee will try to throw again Thursday. Lee is trying to see if he can pitch through the discomfort and pain.
Cliff Lee has a tear in his left elbow and if he’s not able to pitch effectively with the pain he would have to undergo season and possibly career ending surgery. That is if Lee doesn’t decide to retire instead of having surgery.
The Phillies are not optimistic he will be able to pitch through the discomfort. Lee and the Phillies have tried to rehab the injury twice. Amaro Jr. said Wednesday the next step would be surgery for Lee to be able to pitch again without pain.
According to Jayson Stark, Ruben Amaro Jr. said Lee’s injury will not impact the Phillies decision on trading Cole Hamels or how they will go about the process of possibly moving one of the best pitchers in the game.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are still considered the favorite to land Cole Hamels. That is if Amaro Jr. will accept a package of prospects that does not include either INF/OF Mookie Betts or C Blake Swihart. Jon Paul Morosi apparently agrees with Ben Cherington because Morosi said Wednesday he would not deal Betts for Hamels straight up.
According to Jon Paul Morosi, Charley Kerfeld was in Tampa to watch the Red Sox and Yankees play Wednesday. Kerfeld is a special assistant to Ruben Amaro Jr. and was reportedly in Red Sox camp last week scouting the players the Phillies are believed to be eyeing in a possible deal for Hamels.
Pete Abraham indicated the Phillies were “taking a lot of looks” at 3B Garin Cecchini, the tenth best prospect in Boston’s system according to Baseball America.
It’s believed the Phillies’ front office likes the players they could acquire from Boston a little more than the prospects other teams have talked to them about in a possible Hamels deal.
The Rangers reportedly talked to the Phillies in the off-season about Hamels. And Texas was believed to be very interested in Hamels prior to Yu Darvish’s injury. The Rangers had scouts at Hamels first spring start.
Like the rest of the teams that have been linked to Hamels, the Rangers are not willing to put top prospects such as 3B Joey Gallo or C Jorge Alfaro in a package to acquire Hamels.
Jon Daniels told the Rangers’ media Wednesday that the team “is not currently talking with other clubs about acquiring pitching help.” Daniels indicated the plan is to fill the hole in the rotation created by the Darvish injury with internal options.
Ruben Amaro, Jr.
Ruben Amaro Jr. has been consistent with his public comments. The Phillies do not have to trade Hamels. Amaro Jr. and the front office thinks Hamels can help the team win games this season and again in 2016 or in 2017 when the team is ready to win again.
The Phillies will only move Hamels if they feel it makes the big league team better in the near future. Amaro Jr. feels he has a proven Major League commodity and he’s reluctant to part with it for prospects he does not know how they will perform in the big leagues.
New York Yankees
Nick Cafardo reported last weekend that the Yankees “have come the closest to landing” Cole Hamels. The Yankees offered a package of prospects, according to Cafardo, that has “at least given the Phillies a baseline for future talks.”
According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees were never close to getting Cole Hamels. Heyman shot down Cafardo’s report and indicated the Yankees and Phillies “have not talked about a Hamels deal in quite a while, and there’s no sense the sides were ever especially close.”
Heyman explained the Phillies could be looking for a package from the Yankees that include RHP Luis Severino, OF Aaron Judge and INF Ron Refsnyder. And the cost to acquire Hamels, since the Yankees are over the tax threshold, would end up being $36 million per season.
The familiar theme with the Yankees is that Brian Cashman would not want to give up the players required to add Hamels to his rotation, plus the four years and $96 million guaranteed money left on his contract.
It has been quiet on the Cubs front of late in regards to Cole Hamels. The Cubs are believed to be one of the many teams interested in Hamels, but not at the Phillies’ current asking price.