Re-Assessing Potential Cole Hamels Suitors


This past off-season, Ruben Amaro and the Philadelphia Phillies shopped the services of Cole Hamels, got some bites, but ultimately were not able to move him. It appeared that the Phillies asking price was far too high for the majority of teams, which led to the market dissipating.

The Red Sox, Dodgers, Yankees and Padres were all potential landing spots for Hamels. Amaro ultimately engaged in deep talks with San Diego and Boston, asking for several top prospects for Hamels.

Ultimately, the Padres went with James Shields on their own terms and the Red Sox decided to keep top prospects Mookie Betts and Blake Swihart. It is now a month into the 2015 season and it appears the market for Hamels is about to heat back up.

Here’s an update on potential suitors for Hamels.

Red Sox

Cole Hamels opened this season against the Boston Red Sox, who seemed to be the most clear fit this off-season. In his outing, Hamels was very bad surrendering four home runs, which included one to Mookie Betts—a prospect the Phillies reportedly wanted in return for Hamels.

The Red Sox starters have a 6.03 ERA in 21 starts this season. That is the worst ERA in baseball among starting pitchers. The combinations of Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello and Wade Miley isn’t getting it done. Boston has allocated a lot of money to free-agents this offseason, which gives the appearance that they are in win-now mode. It would make a lot of sense to send Hamels to the Red Sox because he would immediately slot into the front of their rotation.

If the Red Sox want Hamels, they will need to give up top prospects. Despite Hamels’ slow start, the asking price should not change. Hamels has a deep track record that shows his legitimacy. That same track record also shows that Hamels is a notoriously slow starter. Philadelphia still wants a catcher, so don’t be surprised if the Phillies shoot for Blake Swihart yet again since Mookie Betts is completely off limits. Outfielder Manuel Margot also appears like he could be a target for the Phillies.


This past weekend, the Cardinals lost Adam Wainwright to a season-ending Achilles tear. Wainwright will be on the shelf for 9-12 months meaning that he will miss all of this year, and runs the risk of missing a portion of next year. As Philadelphia has witnessed with Ryan Howard, a timeline is nice to have when coming back from surgery for this injury, but is far from a guarantee.

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Hamels to the Cardinals makes sense because of the depth in the St. Louis system. ESPN Insider Keith Law ranked the Cardinals farm system as the 13th best in baseball. This is despite the tragic loss of Oscar Taveras this past off-season.

So far this year, the Cardinals 2.67 ERA is the best in baseball. It may be best for the Cardinals to wait this out a little bit and see what their system can bring to the major league level.

A previous report suggested that the Phillies were unwilling to discuss trades with the Cardinals without Carlos Martinez’s name being involved. Martinez is 23-years old and has a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings this year. The Cardinals remain high on the potential of Martinez.


As expected, the Yankees are in a difficult scenario with Masahiro Tanaka, who is heading to the disabled list with a strained forearm. Tanaka has a ten-percent tear in his UCL, which is the ligament synonymous with Tommy John surgery. If Tanaka ends up getting the surgery, he could be sidelined between 10-15 months. As the MLB has seen, teams are somewhat hesitant in the recovery process with their pitchers (see: Matt Harvey).

As stated above, the Phillies are interested in acquiring a catcher. According to Baseball America, the Yankees system features two of their top-10 prospects that the catcher position. The most likely piece is Gary Sanchez, who is a 22-year old playing in Double-A. Sanchez has a .727 OPS in 2015. Sanchez is regarded as a very raw prospect behind the dish, but Keith Law rated Sanchez with a 70 in raw power on the 20-80 scouting scale. That is impressive for a catcher.

Another option for the Phillies is Aaron Judge, who is the Yankees top position prospect. While unlikely, the appeal of Judge should be there. Judge is a 23-year old, power hitting outfielder, an increasingly rare commodity in today’s game and the Phillies’ system. Oh, and Judge is 6’7 so he has quite a presence at the plate.


With the Red Sox, Cardinals and Yankees looking for pitching, the market appears hot, but doesn’t stop with those three teams. On the west coast, the Phillies could still send Hamels back to California in a deal to the Dodgers. I would label this as the least likely landing spot for Hamels, but it still makes some sense. Hamels does prefer the west coast, which is a plus. He also wants to play for a contender, and the Dodgers are certainly that.

The Dodgers have also fell victim to an injury, this time sending Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy to the disabled list with a torn UCL. Similar to the scenario that was outlined with Wainwright, McCarthy will miss this season, and a good bit of next. With Zach Greinke in an option year, the Dodgers could look to load up with three top of the rotation starters and make a run at a World Series.

The Dodgers have some very good prospects with Corey Seager and Julio Urias, which will interest the Phillies. There probably is not a scenario where the Dodgers part ways with either player, but the Dodgers have plenty of young talent in their farm that could built a package for Hamels.

In my mind, Amaro kind of looks smart for waiting this thing out. Teams get desperate if they believe they can contend, but are just a piece away. Losing an ace, but having a team that is ready to contend could mean the Phillies get a little more than they originally would have for Hamels. I know he waited on Cliff Lee and lost, but Amaro has waited on the market for Hamels and stood strong with his original asking price. This may end being a big win for Amaro. Keep an eye out for the Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees, Dodgers and even the Blue Jays in the coming weeks.