Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak elected not to trade for franchise icon Cole Hamels last summer when the Texas Rangers shopped the former World Series MVP. Beyond the natural attachment that the Phillies fanbase has to Hamels, the 35-year-old has found a second life to his career with the Chicago Cubs, posting a 2.71 ERA in 29 starts since joining the Chicago Cubs last July. Objectively, Klentak – and a lot of other teams around the league – would probably like another chance at acquiring the four-time All-Star for a minimal return.
At least until this offseason, when Hamels is eligible to become a free-agent for the first time in his career, the Phillies won’t get another crack at a reunion with Hamels. But they may be interesting in reacquiring the player they sent with him to Texas in July of 2015.
Per MLB.com‘s Jeffrey Flanagan, the Phillies “scouted the Royals during the last homestand and had a scout on hand at Progressive Field on Friday” to watch former Phillie Jake Diekman, who is currently pitching for Kansas City. Flanagan also says that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals have interest in Diekman.
Now 32, Diekman has a 4.89 ERA in 45 games in 2019, which certainly doesn’t scream trade candidate. However, his 3.61 FIP suggests he’s due for some positive regression and he does have some postseason experience from the parts of four seasons he spent with the Rangers.
Now in his eighth season, Diekman has been able to hang around in the league through highs and lows primarily because it’s important – and often difficult – to find multiple left-handed options to use out of your bullpen. The Phillies actually aren’t in bad shape in that regard – Jose Alvarez has a 3.32 ERA in 40 games in 2019 and Adam Morgan, despite a few outliers, is having the strongest season of his career. Still, another left-handed option, especially one that has experience pitching to batters from both sides in high-leverage situations, could potentially give the Phillies a unique advantage as they look to reach the postseason for the first time since 2011.
The Phillies selected Diekman in the 30th round of the 2007 MLB Draft, and he made his debut at the major league level in 2012 with the Phillies. 2013 remains the most impressive individual season of his career, as Diekman posted a 2.58 ERA, 2.50 FIP and 0.7 fWAR in 45 games for a Phillies team that was managed by Charlie Manuel and Ryne Sandberg. On Labor Day 2014, Diekman pitched a hitless seventh inning as part of the only combined no-hitter in Phillies history, joining the aforementioned Hamels, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon in completing the feat at Turner Field in Atlanta.
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