There’s been no shortage of rumors surrounding Cole Hamels this offseason. When your team is a mess and your best trade chip is an all-world pitcher, the mill will churn. Such is life with the Phillies ace.
Boston, San Diego, the Chicago Cubs and others have been linked to Hamels this offseason in one way or another. Some make sense, others are long shots.
From the Phillies perspective, there are reasons why they should and should not trade Hamels:
DON’T TRADE HAMELS:
- He’s pitching in his absolute prime, coming off an incredible 2014 season. If the Phillies can somehow get back into the playoff hunt in the next season or two, they’ll be set at the top of the rotation.
- They shouldn’t not settle for a diminished return on Hamels. GM Ruben Amaro needs to stand firm on the prospects he’s willing to deal for.
- The Phillies are running out of teams to deal with anyway, as the Cubs have reportedly kept their top prospects off the table and the Padres have just signed James Shields. They’ve likely waited to long so they won’t get what they want.
- Hamels likely will not be as valuable as he is today. He’s in top form and a contending team could hope to ride him to a title.
- Take on a little bit of the money remaining on Hamels’ contract and it’s likely more teams would be willing to deal their best young talent.
- Trading Hamels clears out even more money for the Phillies to get creative in international signings (Yoan Moncada).
- The free agent pitching class following the 2015 season is ripe with great arms, and that could hurt the Phillies chances of dealing Hamels at the trade deadline this season. Teams won’t be as willing to give up major prospects when they can jump into free agency after the season and grab a big name.
Where do you stand on the Hamels situation? There’s certainly no simple solution.
If the Red Sox come strong with an offer that nets the Phillies catcher Blake Swihart and more, are you in? What about a package headed by Wil Myers from the Padres?
Or, are you on board with keeping Hamels through this low period the Phillies are stuck in and hoping that contention is within reach sooner than later?
For me, the team needs to stay firm. Do not take less than what you believe is proper return. I’d likely set my limits at a few of another teams top prospects and taking on no more than 10 percent of his remaining salary. But its just not that simple.
The Phillies can ill afford to pawn off their most attractive chip and fall flat on their face. It needs to be a grand slam or nothing at all.