Despite what Ruben Amaro Jr. is saying publicly, the Phillies are expected to trade LHP Cole Hamels before the trade deadline. The Phillies have the second worst record (19-33) in baseball, only the Brewers (17-34) have won fewer games than Philadelphia this season.
Ruben Amaro Jr. is sticking to the company line that he does not have to trade Hamels because he expects the Phillies to be contenders again before the end of his contract. With a barren system it is unlikely the Phillies will be able to turn things around as quickly as Amaro Jr. would like without dealing Cole Hamels.
According to a report from Rob Bradford, the Phillies “are willing to take on more of Hamels’ remaining salary than they had been earlier in the season.” Amaro Jr. is not backing off his demands “for the kind of premier talent potential trade partners don’t currently seem comfortable giving up.”
The Phillies realize that in order to receive a team’s top talent for Hamels, they are going to have to include some salary relief. Teams have not been willing to trade three or four of their top prospects to Philadelphia for Hamels along with taking on the $90-plus million owed to the lefty.
Hamels is owed $15.4 million for the remainder of this season and $73.5 million guaranteed over the last three years of his contract ($22.5 million per 2016-18). Hamels has a $20 million club option for the 2019 season that includes an $8 million buyout.
Cole Hamels has done his part. Hamels is 5-4 with a 2.91 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and 3.93 FIP. In 74 1/3 innings, Hamels has allowed 25 runs, 24 earned, on 56 hits with 76 strikeouts, 25 walks and 10 home runs. Jeff Passan reported that Hamels is “throwing harder than ever” and his “changeup is still one of the five best in the game.”
The Red Sox, even with the struggles in Boston, are still considered the frontrunners to land Hamels. The Phillies and Red Sox have done their homework, and according to Rob Bradford, “continue to scout one another’s Major and minor league teams.”
The Red Sox are not the only team with the type of prospects it would take to pry Hamels from the Phillies. The Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees, Astros and Pirates could send a package of prospects to Philadelphia for Hamels. And teams like the Royals and Tigers also have room in their budgets for Hamels’ contract according to the Philadelphia Daily News.
Mark Gonzales reported the Phillies recently had two of their top scouts watch the Cubs. And there is enough top position player talent in the Cubs’ system to pull off a major trade. Gonzales pointed to the Cubs possibly rekindling the talks with the Phillies for Hamels.
According to Ryan Lawrence, the Cubs are a team to “keep a close eye on” in the coming weeks. Lawrence posted the reminder the Cubs claimed Hamels off waivers last August but the two teams were not able to work out a deal. Lawrence acknowledged that with Kris Bryant and Addison Russell in the big leagues they would be unavailable as part of a package for Hamels. Based on a report in the off-season from Jon Paul Morosi, the Phillies asked the Cubs about building a package around Kris Bryant or Addison Russell or Jorge Soler and Ruben Amaro Jr. was told that those three players were unavailable.
Ryan Lawrence pointed to Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Billy McKinney and Albert Almora being “among those still developing in what’s arguably baseball’s richest farm system.” From all indications Schwarber is untouchable, and Lawrence reported basically the same based solely on the numbers he’s put up in the minors.
It is believed the Cubs made one of the four legitimate offers for Hamels during the off-season. And the two teams have stayed in contact about Hamels for the better part of a calendar year. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are looking for ways to improve the pitching staff, both the rotation and bullpen.
With Hamels being under contract for at least the next three seasons, the Cubs would not be giving up top, controllable talent for a rental. The Cubs would actually control Hamels through the 2019 season, the same amount of time Joe Maddon is under contract along with several of the top position players on the 40-man roster.
Until Cole Hamels is traded, the Cubs will be considered one of the teams most likely to acquire him. After a couple of down weeks, Hamels figures to be one of the most talked about players for the next two months as speculation swirls on where he will be traded.
- Full Report from WEEI.com
- Full Report from the Philadelphia News
- Full Report from Jeff Passan – Yahoo Sports