Pat Gillick: Phillies ‘Being Fair’ in Cole Hamels Talks


In what felt like a mostly-scripted interview, Todd Zolecki of spoke with Philadelphia Phillies interim President, and former General Manager, Pat Gillick on a variety of issues.

Of course, the most pressing question revolved around Cole Hamels, and the idea that the Phillies may ultimately be forced to lower their price to move the 31 year-old.

"Question: I’m sure other teams think you’re going to bend eventually and give up Hamels for what they want to give up.Gillick: People have talked that Ruben is looking for too much in his deals. I don’t think it’s true at all. I’m in the meetings. I know what he’s talking about. I think what he’s trying to do is be fair and reasonable with the different teams in regards to all our players. But at the same time, we have some players that have received interest and we can’t give them away."

Though Gillick is a Hall of Famer, I’m going to assume that at slew of reports suggesting that the Phillies have been unrealistic in trade talks over the past few seasons weren’t all just other executives trying to gain leverage in trade talks. Some might have been, but they certainly all weren’t.

Regardless, as the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo suggested over the off-season, there does need to be some sort of drop-dead date to move Hamels. If the Phillies make it past the deadline with Hamels, why would there be any reason to think they would ever agree to a trade? If he was seriously on the market for close to a year at that point, and the Phillies never really came close to dealing him, then yeah, things probably aren’t going to change.

Beyond just thinking the Phillies aren’t on the same page as other teams, if Hamels wasn’t dealt this off-season because teams would rather overpay for starting pitching on the market than pay the money left on Hamels deal and part with numerous top prospects, then why would that change next off-season?

Frankly, next off-season figures to have even more arms available than this one did. Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke, Doug Fister, David Price and Jordan Zimmerman headline a loaded free-agent class next Winter, making it very conceivable that interest in Hamels’ price would be minimal next off-season.

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That taken into account, the Phillies may find that they need to adjust their price for Hamels even at the deadline. Teams like the Red Sox may get desperate for starting pitching at the deadline, but there’s no reason why they couldn’t trade for Cueto or any of the previously mentioned names (should their team’s be in a selling position), over what they have deemed to be an overvalued Hamels.

An adjusted price would seemingly include the Phillies taking on some of the $96 million left guaranteed on Hamels’ deal to ensure they still get a top-flight return for Hamels. Or they could lower their asking price in terms of a prospect return, but that doesn’t really make sense. Taking on, for example, a quarter of the money left on Hamels deal, would allow the Phillies to take back at least one more prospect, and would perhaps expand the market for Hamels.

Even if the Phillies moved Hamels for a lesser return, and opened up a ton of money, the game has become much more about developing from within, rather than overspending for veterans who are probably past their primes.

Either way, the clock is ticking for the Phillies on Hamels. I understand they can’t ‘give him away’, but they probably also aren’t going to get a king’s ransom for him if they expect other teams to take on the money remaining on his deal. And that doesn’t change that trading him for a very good return, even if it doesn’t blow anyone away, is still the smartest move for the team’s future.

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