Phillies ace lefty Cole Hamels has been claimed on revocable waivers by an unidentified team according to Foxsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal. The Phillies now have 48 hours to either work out a trade with the unidentified team, or pull him back. The third option would be to let Hamels just go to the unnamed team for nothing with the mystery team paying the rest of Hamels salary. This is very unlikely, however.
Hamels can be traded to nine different teams without his consent. Those teams are the Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, Cardinals, Nationals, Rangers, Padres and Yankees.
The Red Sox have shown interest in Hamels this season, with the Phillies having scouted their AA team. Hamels was said to be a fit for Boston if they could not sign Jon Lester to a long term contract. The Red Sox ended up trading Lester to the Oakland Athletics on deadline day leaving a reunion between Lester and “bean town” in doubt.
The Dodgers claimed lefty Cliff Lee last year on revocable waivers, and could be the team in question. Rosenthal reports that the Phillies may be better off trying to trade him in the offseason, rather than trying to work out a trade with this mystery team. The 30-year old ace is enjoying arguably his best season in his Major League career. He has compiled a 6-6 record with a 2.42 ERA. He has given up a career low eight home runs, and opposing hitters are batting just .224 off the lefty. His trade stock has never been higher.
Marlon Byrd was also claimed on revocable waivers by an unidentified team. This could be a move by a team actually looking to acquire Byrd’s services for a stretch run, or it could be used to block other teams from trading for the 36-year old outfielder. Byrd, who has been one of the better free agent pick ups of the winter, has another year left on his contract along with an obtainable vesting option for 2016. Byrd is hitting .269 this season with 21 home runs, and 63 runs batted in.
His contract was one of the reasons on why he was not traded at the July 31st non-waiver deadline; teams did not want to invest two more years into an aging outfielder. It is also worth noting that Jonathan Papelbon cleared waivers.
My take: I respectfully am going to disagree with Ken Rosenthal in regards to Hamels. If you are looking for an ace pitcher, this is the offseason to get one. This free agent class is set to feature both Max Scherzer and Jon Lester. Hamels would be the third choice for teams that lost out on either of those two pitchers. Teams would seemingly rather pony up money than prospects. While his trade stock has never been higher, and I worry of a Cliff Lee type situation, I don’t see a trade happening. The Phillies had been in talks with the Dodgers, but asked for three top 20 prospects in all of baseball for the 30-year old ace. 48 hours just isn’t a ton of time to get adequate value for a pitcher of Hamels caliber.
Byrd is more likely to go. Byrd would be a nice addition for a team needing outfield help, as he is one of the best options on the market. Two of the teams on his no-trade list are the Seattle Mariners, and the Kansas City Royals. Both of those teams had been interested in Byrd, but the slugging right fielder wanted them to pick up his option. The Yankees were also a fit for Byrd, but when the Phillies asked for former first round pick Aaron Judge the Yankees balked and decided to acquire Martin Prado.
Papelbon was the guy most Phillies fans wanted claimed. That would have been the easiest way to get rid of Papelbon and his contract (barring that the claiming team was not on his no-trade list). Hopefully the Phillies will be able to work out a deal with a team for Papelbon, who is still owed $13 million next season, with an obtainable vesting option in 2016 for another $13 million. In Ruben we trust?