Cole Hamels is not having the best Spring Training, but he’s healthy and working through command issues that are being blamed for his numbers. And unless there is a major shift in the Phillies demands or teams like the Red Sox or Rangers cave and give Ruben Amaro Jr. what he wants for Hamels, he will be on the mound Opening Day against the Red Sox.
Hamels has not been good this spring. There is obviously no concern because veterans can have bad numbers in Spring Training without raising too many red flags. Hamels has allowed nine runs on 14 hits (four home runs) with four walks and 10 strikeouts over 10 2/3 innings (four starts). Cole Hamels and Ryne Sandberg point to his lack of fastball command right now as the reason for him throwing a lot of pitches in short outings. Hamels has yet to complete four innings in a Grapefruit League outing.
The Phillies are not worried about Hamels and those teams looking for Amaro Jr. to push the panic button and lower his asking price will be disappointed. It’s not going to happen.
Ruben Amaro Jr. is holding firm to his asking price for Cole Hamels … three or four of a team’s top prospects and he’s not willing to include any of the guaranteed $96 million left on Hamels’ contract over the next four seasons.
It’s believed that the Red Sox and Phillies have not made any progress in their conversations about Hamels. The Phillies are still demanding either OF/INF Mookie Betts or C Blake Swihart to be included in a package of players for Hamels. And the Red Sox kind of showed the Phillies what they can’t have last Sunday when Swihart started behind the plate in Clearwater against the Phillies.
According to Jon Heyman, the Phillies and Rangers are still talking about a Cole Hamels deal. But like every other team that is interested in Hamels, Jon Daniels is not willing to pay the price to acquire him. In other words, Daniels does not want to include Joey Gallo or Jorge Alfaro in a package for Hamels.
Heyman explained the Rangers and Phillies have “discussed prospects who’d go in a package for Hamels, but the side were said to be still far apart.” Players like RHP Luke Jackson, RHP Alex Gonzalez and OF Nick Williams might have been in the talks at some point. According to Heyman the two teams “weren’t necessarily expressing great optimism the gap could be closed, but they aren’t closing the door, either.”
The Rangers are looking for pitching help and are talking to the Marlins according to Evan Grant.
Grant described the Rangers chances of acquiring Hamels as “slim” and Texas is looking at two Marlins’ lefties, Brad Hand and Mike Dunn. Hand is a swingman that could help in the rotation while Dunn is a lefty reliever that could be paired with Alex Claudio in the Rangers’ bullpen.
Over the course of the off-season it was believed the Cubs were one of the four teams that made a real offer to the Phillies for Cole Hamels. But Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are not going to include Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and/or Addison Russell in a deal for Hamels.
The Phillies have been one of the teams consistently connected to Welington Castillo since December and Charley Kerfeld, a Phillies’ scout and one of Ruben Amaro Jr.’s top advisors, attended last Monday’s game to watch Welington Castillo according to Bruce Levine. The Phillies have also shown interest in Travis Wood.
Cole Hamels is not going to be traded between now and Opening Day. Blockbuster deals just don’t happen this time of year. Many in the game feel Hamels should have already been moved because his value is only going to diminish every time he takes the hill for the Phillies. Hamels is going to stay in the rumor mill as Ruben Amaro Jr. tries to maximize his value before the trade deadline. But the question remains, will the Phillies actually trade Cole Hamels because that are those in the game that doubt they ever will.