The first big name trade happened Thursday July 23rd as the Oakland Athletics traded away Scott Kazmir to the Houston Astros. The Astros, one of the teams rumored to be looking to bolster their rotation fired away and got the guy they wanted. Many rumors had the Astros looking to trade for Cole Hamels but it just seemed like the Phillies were asking too much in return for the 2008 World Series MVP.
Over the past couple of months there have been many teams interested in trading for Hamels. So far the teams that have made the most noise have been the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and of course you can’t seem to count out the Boston Red Sox.
Let’s start off with the team that has a reported trade offer out on the table with the Chicago Cubs. Late Thursday night multiple reports showed that the Cubs are looking to make a splash by trading for Cole Hamels. It’s well known that the Phillies are holding the lefty for a king’s ransom, so any trade proposal will have to blow them away. The reported trade from the Cubs was Cole Hamels for both infielders Javier Baez and Starlin Castro. At first glance this looks like a very enticing trade for the Phillies but once you dig a little deeper it doesn’t seem to make the most sense. Baez is considered to be one of the Cubs top prospects, he can play shortstop, second base, and even third base if needed but is rehabbing right now. He is looking to return to minor league action after suffering a non-displaced fracture on his left ring finger on June 7th. With his first glimpse at the big leagues, Baez hit the ball pretty well but struggled with strikeouts, regardless his ceiling of potential outweighs the fear of striking out too much. Castro on the other hand doesn’t seem to be attracting too much attention. The Cubs are ready to move on from that project as Castro hasn’t performed too well this year for the team. All in all if the Phillies can keep Baez in the package while trying to get one or two more prospects from the Cubs I would have to say the Phillies should do the deal.
The second team that is catching a lot of buzz from the rumor mill has been the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s no secret that the Dodgers have one goal in mind this year, and that is to win the World Series. At the top of their rotation they have arguably the best one-two pitching combination in baseball with Kershaw and Greinke. Other than their top two guys they have a weak rotation, sending out guys like Brett Anderson and Mike Bolsinger. Once October rolls around they are going to need a deeper more experienced rotation to keep up with the other National League power houses. With other top-tier pitchers on the market like David Price, Jeff Samardzija, and Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels makes the most sense for the Dodgers to trade for. One of the main reasons that the Dodgers have been pushing for Hamels is that he is locked into a contract already and wouldn’t be a “rental” player like the other top guys. The only problem is they seem to be very stubborn when it comes to giving up young MLB ready prospects. The Dodgers have already came out publicly and said that their top guys Corey Seager and Julio Urias are unavailable for a trade which turns off the Phillies to make a deal if they don’t at least get one top prospect. The Straight up trade of Yasiel Puig for Cole Hamels has caught a lot of buzz from the fan base and it seems like it’s an even split in whether they like it or not. Puig has MVP type potential but can be a handful at times. His immaturity along with the injury history could scare the Phillies into not pursuing that trade.
The Texas Rangers have been along with the Cubs, the most aggressive to land the Phillies ace. Their farm system is littered with young talented players that would give the Phillies the prospects they are looking for. According to multiple sources, the Rangers have been the most “aggressive and creative” when it comes to offering a trade. The Rangers are 8.5 games out of first place in the A.L Central but that doesn’t seem to stop them from trying to pull off the blockbuster deal. With guys like Joey Gallo, Jorge Alfaro and Chi Chi Gonzalez, the Rangers could package a nice deal that could obviously entice the Phillies to do the deal.
Last but not least is the team that has been linked to Hamels the longest and that is the Boston Red Sox. As of Friday the Red Sox are sitting in last place in the A.L East standings, 12 games back of the New York Yankees. With all of the moves to upgrade their lineup this year they forgot about fixing a bad rotation of pitchers. Trading for Hamels at the deadline would be a substantial upgrade to Rick Porcello and Wade Miley but I don’t think it would be enough to save their season. If they did end up trading for Hamels, they would presumably have to give up one of Betts, Bogaerts, Henry Owens or Blake Swihart. The trade to Boston seems unlikely but I’m not going to count out the Red Sox just yet, they have been linked to Hamels the longest and it seems like the rumors just won’t go away.
Waiting and getting this trade right is a top priority to the Phillies organization. This deal can make or break how they develop as a team, and is simply the trade that the Phillies cannot get wrong. If any team comes with an offer they can’t refuse, the Phils would have no choice but to #DoTheDeal.