Phillies’ scouts have been looking at players in the Cubs’ system at the Major and minor league levels for at least the majority of a calendar year. The Cubs first tried to make a deal with the Phillies last summer after a waiver claim was put in for LHP Cole Hamels. And while it was believed to be a reach at the time, conversations started about what it would take to acquire Hamels.
It is believed the talks between the two teams continued throughout the winter. The Cubs reportedly made one of the four legitimate offers for Cole Hamels. Ruben Amaro Jr. is still holding out hope that either a team like the Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers, Yankees, Astros or Rangers will step up and pay what is apparently an exorbitant asking price for Hamels.
Teams have not shown the willingness to send the package of prospects to the Phillies and take back a majority, if not all, of Hamels’ contract.
Cole Hamels has pitched well for the Phillies this season despite all of the speculation and rumors. Hamels has held teams to two runs or less in all but four of his 13 starts while maintaining more than a strikeout per inning and well less than a hit allowed per inning.
The Cubs are reportedly interested in another one of the players Ruben Amaro Jr. says he would like to trade, Jonathan Papelbon.
Due to the Phillies struggles, Papelbon has not pitched in a game since June 7. The Phillies have apparently realized he cannot be allowed on the mound at the end of a game unless he is in there in a save situation.
Jonathan Papelbon would like to be dealt to a contending team and recently said he would be interested in a trade to the Cubs. Papelbon has a history with the Cubs’ front office and has closed games on the biggest stage in baseball.
According to Joel Sherman, the Phillies have scouts watching the Cubs’ system and he linked the recent activity to the interest in Jonathan Papelbon as it has been reported the Phillies would like to trade him sooner rather than later. Sherman pointed out there would still be “lots of obstacles” to work out. The Blue Jays were reportedly interested in Papelbon as well but Alex Anthopoulos has not talked to the Phillies about Papelbon in a week, according to Sherman, and are concentrating on other relievers, mainly Oakland’s Tyler Clippard.
Based on past reports, the Phillies have had scouts watching the Cubs since Spring Training. And Amaro Jr. has sent his top advisors on several of those scouting trips.
As the issues continue to mount and the losses pile up, the Phillies keep going through the motions of an organization willing to make changes with its big league roster. To this point, however, the actions of Ruben Amaro Jr. speak louder than anything he can say to the contrary.
The Phillies are putting in the leg work. Amaro Jr. has his scouts watching the Cubs, Blue Jays and Red Sox, among others, and he has talked to at least a dozen teams about the players he says he would like to trade.
The Phillies had a great run that included a World Series Championship. But Ruben Amaro Jr. has put off the inevitable far too long. Trades are supposed to benefit both teams, not just one, and the fact it has been reported he feels he has to clearly win any deals he makes is absurd.
It is past time for Ruben Amaro Jr. to either trade one of his frontline players or just admit he would rather have a few big names on his roster that sells tickets and gives the appearance he is trying to win games.