Trade Rumors

Rangers officials reportedly think trade buzz is “weighing on” Cole Hamels



Cole Hamels has struggled in the month of July. (Arturo Pardavila III/Wikimedia Commons)

According to MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki, the Philadelphia Phillies were among potential suitors with a scout at Texas Rangers LHP Cole Hamels’ start against the Oakland Athletics Monday evening. Like the rest of those monitoring the market for the 2008 World Series MVP, the Phillies can’t have come away from the start with a very positive feeling regarding the impact that Hamels could have if injected into their contending team.

Hamels labored through five innings, allowing nine hits, two home runs and seven earned runs. After posting a 3.34 ERA in June, the 34-year-old lefty currently has an 11.12 ERA in four starts in July. Hamels’ ERA on the season now sits at 4.72. He’s allowing a career-high 1.81 HR/9. His 5.20 FIP is the fifth-worst mark among qualified starting pitchers.

In an extensive look at the market for Hamels, ESPN.com‘s Jerry Crasnick spoke to an unnamed executive that opined that the Rangers have “nothing” in terms of traction on a potential Hamels trade currently. He added another interesting note – some in the Rangers organization seem to think Hamels has reservations about moving his family to another city, which is perhaps affecting his focus on baseball:

Some Rangers officials think Hamels has been stressed out by all the trade speculation, and that it’s weighing on him personally. Hamels and his wife, Heidi, have four children, and it was a major adjustment for them to leave Philadelphia for Texas at the 2015 trade deadline.

It may sound strange for someone who has seemingly had his named tossed around in trade rumors for a third of his career to potentially be flustered by trade rumors, but this angle makes some sense. Hamels, the professional pitcher, may not be bothered by the idea of being traded. At this stage of career, he probably would be excited by the chance to pitch in the postseason again. But Hamels, the husband and father of four, knows what it would mean to uproot his family again. And concerns that Hamels is having from a family sense may be affecting him as a pitcher, even if only subconsciously.

Nearly three years removed from being traded to the Rangers, Hamels’ six-year/$144 million contract, which he signed with the Phillies during the 2012 season, is set to expire at the conclusion of the season. There is a $20 million club option in his contract for 2019, but it’s hard to imagine that being picked up. However, Hamels has a partial no-trade clause that allows him to block trades to 20 teams in the league. Per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, the Phillies, Braves and Nationals are among the teams that Hamels can’t block a trade to. However, if another suitor agreed to acquire him and he felt it was strictly for him to be a rental, perhaps it’s possible he would block the trade. In all likelihood, he’s going to be on another team in 2019. But perhaps he would prefer to just wait until the offseason to move his family, especially if he may have to do that anyway even if he’s traded elsewhere during the season.

For as much as Hamels may not be keen on moving his family, he would seem likely to benefit from moving away from Globe Life Park, where he’s posted a 6.41 ERA in 10 starts this season. In 10 away starts for the Rangers in 2018, Hamels has a 2.93 ERA.

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