According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Houston Astros have joined the ranks of teams that are interested in Cole Hamels. Cafardo calls the Astros a “dark horse” trade partner candidate alongside other presumed potential trade partners in the Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, and Rangers. Cafardo also lists the Giants as a possible destination for Hamels.
Analysis: The Astros certainly make sense from a talent standpoint. With one of the deepest farms in baseball, the Astros could put together one of the best offers among any teams interested in Hamels. Where this rumor or speculation falls apart, however, is why, exactly, the Astros would pick now to trade for Hamels.
The Astros finished 28 games behind the first-place Angels and 18 games behind Wild Card game participant Oakland and Seattle has shown a willingness to continue to build on a strong 2014 by spending more money to lock up home grown talent and sign free agents. I just can’t see why the Astros would pick now to try to trade for Hamels unless they think their young talent will make a significant jump in 2015.
But if the Astros are interested (debatable) and the talent is a match (quite possible), Hamels has a 20 team no trade clause. As of 2014, Hamels could be traded to the Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Cardinals, Nationals, Braves, Yankees, Red Sox, and Rangers without his consent but his list was updated in late October. It is unlikely that Hamels updated the list of teams he gives his consent to be traded to to include the Astros.