Former Phillies Pitcher Cole Hamels Could Be Up for Trade Again
The Phillies made the biggest move of their rebuild back in 2015 when they traded starting pitcher Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers along with reliever Jake Diekman. In return the Phillies took back Matt Harrison’s contract and prospects Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickoff and Jake Thompson. Two years later, the team to which Hamels was traded might be considering a rebuild of their own.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN is reporting that Hamels could be dealt:
There’s an increasing buzz that #Rangers will listen on Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels if team doesn’t pick up its play before July 31 deadline.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 13, 2017
Hamels has an extensive no-trade clause, Crasnick later noted, making a trade somewhat difficult.
Hamels is earning $22.5 million in 2017, will earn another $22.5 million in 2018, and the club has a $20 million option for 2019. So, an acquiring team could have Hamels for two more seasons before he is a free agent. The Rangers might not be able to get back the same type of return the club gave up to acquire Hamels to begin with.
The Rangers still have some young pieces on the club they can build around. While Joey Gallo never materialized into the player that his prospect once was, the club is seeing its winning core age. The core that included third baseman Adrian Beltre, shortstop Elvis Andrus, and outfielder Shin Soo Choo are not performing as they once did. First baseman Mitch Moreland left for the Boston Red Sox and the return of Mike Napoli has been underwhelming. Outfielder Nomar Mazara has been outstanding, but he is about the only young piece that has worked out.
Yu Darvish, meanwhile, is set to be a free agent this offseason. With a diminished offense and lacking a 1-2 punch, the Rangers might find it better to cash both in to build a new core of players. Should the Rangers start the rebuild now, they would avoid the situation teams like the Phillies have been in and the Detroit Tigers are entering.
Could the Phillies be interested in Hamels once again? Hamels turns 34 in December. That means the acquiring team would be on the hook for only his age 34 season, with the chance to renew for age 35. For the Phillies to be interested, the cost would have to be significantly less than they traded him for, since he is approaching the age where skills tend to really diminish for pitchers. Cliff Lee last pitched his final, injury-riddled season at age 35, while Roy Halladay struggled through his age 36 season.
Hamels may fit in better with someone who has a chance to win now and next season.