According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are still talking to the Phillies about Cole Hamels.
Rosenthal reported Saturday, “The Dodgers and Cubs continue to talk to the Phillies about Cole Hamels and don’t rule out the Red Sox, Rangers and others. I am told that the Red Sox intend to scout Hamels on Sunday. And that talks between the Rangers and Phillies are not dead, though the Rangers expect other clubs to make better offers.”
Ken Rosenthal explained the industry is beginning to wonder if “the Phillies’ fragmented front office” is hampering the team’s ability to make deals. Rosenthal pointed out that Jonathan Papelbon should have been traded by now. Rosenthal is the latest to question if the Phillies will trade Cole Hamels before the deadline. Despite what Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week, the feeling around the game is that any deals must be approved by Andy MacPhail and he may not be willing to make any trades until he learns more about the organization.
The Cubs are also believed to be interested in Jonathan Papelbon. A report from Buster Olney on Saturday morning suggested the Phillies were pushing to finalize a deal for Papelbon. And the Phillies were talking to multiple teams about Hamels and Papelbon.
The Phillies may be having conversations about Hamels and Papelbon but the discussions for Papelbon have not progressed to the point the front office kept Pete Mackanin from using him Saturday night. Papelbon picked up his 15th save with a scoreless ninth that included a hit and a strikeout in a 3-1 win over the Marlins.
The four teams Ken Rosenthal reported that are still discussing Cole Hamels with the Phillies are the same teams that have shown the most interest in the southpaw over the last year. And all four teams have the prospects to pull off a deal for Hamels.
The Phillies have scouted the Red Sox, Rangers and Cubs systems and Major League players thoroughly since at least last August. And the Dodgers have been seen as the frontrunners to acquire Hamels for some time now.
Even with Andy MacPhail in charge, the Phillies demands for Hamels have reportedly not changed. The Phillies are looking for three to four top prospects while not including much, if any, of the guaranteed money left on Hamels’ contract. Hamels is owed the remaining of his $22.5 million salary for this season, plus $22.5 million over the next three years (2016-18). Hamels’ contract includes a $20 million club option for 2019 with a $6 million buyout … and the 2019 option can become guaranteed with 400 innings in 2017-18 with at least 200 innings in 2018.
Teams have not been willing to pay the Phillies price to acquire Hamels. And with less than two weeks before the deadline, Andy MacPhail may decide he can get a better return for Cole Hamels and make an Erik Bedard-esque deal for the Phillies this winter.