The Phillies are not in a rush to trade Cole Hamels and Ruben Amaro Jr. has continued his dialogue with teams on several fronts concerning players on his roster.
Cole Hamels is the biggest name on the market right now and one that has the best chance to impact a team’s season.
The Cole Hamels rumors figure to dominate baseball as the season progresses leading up to the deadline until the Phillies finally trade the southpaw.
The Cubs are among the nine teams on his trade-eligible list. The Phillies do not have to ask Hamels for his permission to be traded to the Cubs and he will not block a deal. According to Gordon Wittenmyer, the Cubs have stayed in contact with the Phillies about Hamels.
The Cardinals, Dodgers, Padres, Angels, Rangers and Yankees are six of the other seven teams on Hamels’ trade-eligible list according to Jon Heyman. Hamels can block a trade to the Red Sox, who are seen as the clear favorites to land Hamels. It is believed Hamels would waive his no-trade protection if Boston picks up the $20 million option for the 2019 season.
According to Patrick Mooney, “it’s hard to see Theo Epstein’s front office taking on the massive financial commitment while also giving up the high-level prospects it would take, particularly knowing the frontline pitchers who could be there as free agents this winter.”
Bob Nightengale reported the Phillies are now willing to pay down/include money in deals for their players in order to improve the return. In other words, Ruben Amaro Jr. has realized that if he wants top talent from a team’s system, he is going to have to include some of the more than $90 million guaranteed to Hamels over the next three-plus seasons.
“We are very open-minded. We’re not afraid to subsidize contracts. We never told a club that we would not absolutely subsidize his contract. That is not a realistic way to do business. If there’s a deal to be made, and we have to subsidize part of it, we’ll do it.”
It is believed that Ruben Amaro Jr. is still telling teams he has to clearly win any trade involving Cole Hamels. According to Heyman, some wonder if that is possible “to the degree he desires” because he keeps asking for a team’s top prospects and no one has been willing to pay his price.
According to Bob Nightengale, Amaro Jr. talked to an unidentified team Tuesday about Hamels and his phone is ringing a lot more of late. One month into the season, teams know what holes they would like to try to fill. And injuries have created opportunities for Amaro Jr. to acquire pieces to help speed up the Phillies rebuilding process.
Amaro Jr. told Bob Nightengale, “I understand that teams go through the first month of the season trying to access what their needs are and what they have internally. Some clubs will be all hellbent on contending. Other teams will be trying to decide whether they’re contenders or not. We understand it takes time.”
“It’s no secret that one team lost an ace and two or three teams have lost very important starters, but everybody had their own way of doing business. That doesn’t necessarily change their mind-set. Some teams want to move quickly. Other teams want to ride things out. I think all of us would rather do deals only after exhausting their own internal possibilities and go from there.”
According to Hamels’ agent John Boggs, the lefty is dealing with everything. Cole Hamels understands what is happening. He’s had his “bags packed for almost a year now.”
Throughout the winter the Red Sox were considered the favorites to acquire Cole Hamels and one month into the season nothing has changed. The Phillies are believed to like the prospects in Boston’s system more than any of the young players other teams could send to Philly for Hamels.
Despite the rotation issues and having the worst ERA in the majors, the Sox has “not intensified their pursuit of starting pitchers through trades despite the dismal performance of the rotation” according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe.
Ben Cherington has maintained publicly the Red Sox front office believes in the starters on the roster and do not plan to go outside the organization to find solutions for the rotation.
Countless reports have indicated Ben Cherington will not include either OF/INF Mookie Betts or C Blake Swihart in a package for Hamels. The Red Sox system is so deep there is more than enough high impact talent in the organization to put together a package of players that would satisfy Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies.
Peter Gammons has been consistent in the fact he believes a package built around OF Manuel Margot and LHP Henry Owens would be the best deal for the Phillies. And the Phillies are reportedly very high on Margot.
Ruben Amaro Jr. sent Charlie Manuel to Salem this week to watch Margot. The 20-year old outfielder, who has been compared to Carlos Beltran, is hitting .323/.361/.523 for High-A Salem.
Charlie Manuel should know what type of player Margot is by now. Manuel spent “a significant chunk” of the 2014 season evaluating the Red Sox system.
According to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, a package built around OF Manuel Margot that included one of three pitching prospects (Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez and Brian Johnson) and possibly 3B/OF Garin Cecchini could be enough for the Phillies.
Murphy pointed out it might not be the return Amaro was hoping for or pay immediate dividends for the Phillies, but would be fair value for Hamels and give “a significant boost to the Phillies chances of putting a competent team on the field before the end of the decade.”
As soon as Adam Wainwright injured his Achilles, it was assumed the Cardinals would turn their attention to Cole Hamels. Even without the players to acquire Hamels, St. Louis has historically been able to make deals like acquiring Hamels and land on their feet.
Cole Hamels hasn’t exactly downplayed the fact he wouldn’t mind pitching in St. Louis for the Cardinals. Hamels has family connections to the city and said Monday, while the Phillies were in town the day it was announced Adam Wainwright would miss the rest of the season and be out for 9-12 months, that he loves pitching at Busch Stadium.
Obviously John Mozeliak and Mike Matheny didn’t talk to Hamels, but the Cardinals’ brass had a front row seat for one of Hamels’ best starts of the season. Hamels held the Cards to one run on four hits in seven innings. Hamels walked four and struck out a season-high nine batters.
The Cardinals are going to try to fill the void in their rotation with either LHP Marco Gonzales or LHP Jaime Garcia. Both lefties are dealing with injuries and Garcia cannot be counted on for anything at this point in his career.
RHP Carlos Martinez would have to be included in a package for Hamels and the Cardinals are not trading him. And OF Stephen Piscotty is not enough to headline a trade for Hamels. Many question if the Cardinals have enough talent in the system to give for Hamels. The best package Cardinals could put together is likely not as good as what the Red Sox second or even third best offer could be according to the David Murphy of the Daily News.
But never count out the Cardinals in a deal for a player the franchise targets, history has shown St. Louis has a knack for acquiring players to keep them at the top of the National League without giving up much in return.
The Dodgers are down two starters, have World Series aspirations, the talent to acquire Cole Hamels and all the financial resources to absorb Cole Hamels’ contract. The problem is, Andrew Friedman is not going to build a package around OF Joc Pederson, INF Corey Seager or LHP Julio Urias to acquire Hamels.
The Dodgers do not want to trade those three players and with unlimited resources at his disposal, it is believed the Dodgers will just sign one of the top of the rotation arms next winter, plus Zack Greinke, and roll with the rotation the team has now.
RHP Brandon McCarthy is gone for the season, but LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu will return soon. Friedman expects Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke to keep Los Angeles in first place and for starters like RHP Scott Baker, RHP Carlos Frias and LHP Brett Anderson to round out the rotation until Ryu returns.
According to Gordon Wittenmyer, the Cubs have stayed in touch with the Phillies on Cole Hamels. The Cubs obviously like Hamels, and which of the 30 teams wouldn’t, but Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are not going to build a package around Kris Bryant or Addison Russell or Jorge Soler to acquire him.
The Phillies have spent a lot of time scouting the Cubs big league team and minor league affiliates and are believed to like C Welington Castillo. The Phillies could use Castillo, but he would be a third, fourth or fifth player in a deal to acquire a pitcher the caliber of Cole Hamels.
Jim Bowden is convinced that a package built around INF Javier Baez would be what the Phillies are looking for from the Cubs. Jon Heyman thinks Starlin Castro could be used to acquire Hamels, but despite what the national media says, Castro is not going anywhere. Heyman also reported players like Baez, Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora could be of interest to the Phillies.
The Daily News’ David Murphy reported to “forget about the Cubs” because it makes more sense, in his opinion to keep a Kyle Schwarber and the talent in the system, stick with the pitching of Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, Travis Wood and Kyle Hendricks and try to sign one of the many free agent starters next off-season.
Based on the front office’s late push to sign James Shields, the Cubs would like to add a starting pitcher if the price is right. And Hamels at the top of the rotation along with Lester and Arrieta could put the Cubs in position to reach their goal for this season.
Teams Still in the Mix for Hamels
There is not a team in baseball that couldn’t use Cole Hamels and several other teams have been connected to lefty but are viewed as being further behind the Red Sox than the Dodgers, Cardinals and Cubs.
• Padres – The Padres would like to pair Cole Hamels with James Shields. But A.J. Preller does not have enough in his system to pull off a deal with the Phillies.
• Blue Jays – Toronto is looking for a replacement for Marcus Stroman. And at one point had the pieces in the organization to acquire Hamels. Toronto is on his no-trade list and it’s doubtful the two teams can work out a deal.
• Royals – Kansas City has been connected to Hamels, but it’s believed the Royals do not enough in their system to make a legitimate run at Hamels.
• Rangers – Jon Daniels has the talent at his disposal, the Rangers are on Hamels list of teams he would not have to approve a deal to and Texas has a need for Hamels. But the Rangers are not viewed as being a Cole Hamels away from contending. The Rangers have too many holes to fill and many question if it would make sense for Daniels to trade for Hamels at this point.