Cole Hamels is now a Texas Ranger, but that doesn’t mean much for the 2015 season.
As it stands, the Texas Rangers sit four games under .500 and the same number out of the second Wild Card spot in the American League. Between them and the Twins, that second Wild Card team, rests the Orioles, Blue Jays, Rays, White Sox and Tigers.
It’s a mess.
The Rangers didn’t want to give up on their season though. So they went out and traded for one of the biggest — if not the biggest — trade deadline name in Cole Hamels.
There’s no doubt that Hamels can ball. On one of the more depressing teams Major League Baseball has seen over the last decade, he’s managed a 3.21 FIP, a 2.7 fWAR, and a strikeout per nine rate that’s approaching double-digits (9.58). And after a no-hitter against the Cubs less than a week ago, you could argue he’s pacing for one of the better seasons of his career.
So it was a no-brainer for the Rangers — again, a team that’s just four games out of a playoff spot — to trade for the stud. Right?
Not exactly. You see, before the Hamels deal even happened, the Rangers had just a 4.08 percent chance of making the playoffs according to our projections. A huge reason for this is because there are so many teams battling for a spot, and the Rangers, per our power rankings, have performed like one of the worst teams in baseball. There are plenty of things that point to why this is the case, like a run differential that ranks 21st in Major League Baseball.
They just haven’t been great, Bob.
So while Hamels is certainly one of the better pitchers in baseball, his impact isn’t as significant to the 2015 bottom line as most Rangers fans would probably want. In fact, according to our algorithm, adding Hamels moved the Rangers’ playoff probability to just 4.92 percent, which is still lower than the White Sox, Twins, Rays and Blue Jays.
Of course, this move wasn’t necessarily just for 2015. And fans of the team need to remember that.