Yesterday evening, I responded to a Nick Cafardo report that suggested that the Phillies wanted ‘four of five’ players for Cole Hamels in any potential trade. Not only did they want that, but they wanted whatever team that would acquire Hamels to take on the remaining $96 million guaranteed in his deal. While I think Hamels might be having the finest season of his career, he isn’t Clayton Kershaw, and it’s more than fair for potential suitors to balk at that type of request.
This afternoon, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports didn’t get the exact specifics of what the Phillies were asking for Hamels, but his message seemed to confirm that the monster package that Cafardo has heard the Phillies wanted to move Cole, was pretty accurate.
While Phillies star left-hander Cole Hamels remains technically available on the trade market, a rival GM put it this way: “They want the world.”
Frankly, they should. The Phillies have one person on their roster capable of turning the fate of franchise and it is Hamels. As presently constructed, they can’t do that with him on the roster. They could in a trade, but given Ruben Amaro’s history of talent evaluation, don’t look down on me if I’m a little hesitant for him to be the one to move him.
All that said, I don’t feel like the Phillies are anywhere near contending, nor do I think they will be in the next four seasons, which is how much longer Hamels is under contract for. If they move him for a few top prospects and clear up over $22 million a year to maneuver with, and maybe that changes.
I also think these two things. First off, Amaro isn’t going to get fired this off-season, so we may very well be having this same debate at this time next year. As much as we all want him fired, I’m not willing to wait another year or two to start rebuilding if the Phillies don’t fire him after this year.
Also, Hamels is a very good pitcher, but this season, he’s pitching like one of the top seven or eight starters in the league. Obviously, there is a gap at the top between Hamels and guys like Kershaw, Adam Wainwright, Felix Hernandez and Chris Sale, but none of them are attainable. Hamels could be, and teams might very well be willing to give up their top two prospects for Hamels, and take on his contract, this year. I can’t tell you that at this time next year, Hamels will be pitching at this type of level, and that teams will be as high on him. A year ago, his value wasn’t even half of what it is now.
If the Phillies don’t want to go through a ten year rebuilding process, maybe they should consider making the price to get Hamels a tad more realistic. If not, we will be having this same debate next year, and this could turn into an ugly, late-90s esque rebuilding process. No one wants that.