MLB Trade Rumors: 5 Teams Who Should Offer the Farm for Cole Hamels
After watching Matt Cain receive a six-year, $127.5 million contract extension this winter, he will undoubtedly be looking for something similar, and to this point, the Phillies have not been able to lock him up.
Things have only gotten more intriguing with the Phillies off to a slow start this season, and with that slow start has come inevitable talk of the Phillies potentially becoming sellers.
At the moment, nothing is even in the works as far as a trade is concerned, but here's a look at five teams who have the motivation and the pieces to trade the farm for a chance to acquire Hamels.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2012 season, as they currently have the best record in baseball.
New ownership means the team will be in the market to spend over the next few offseasons, but if the continue their current level of play, they could look to gear up for a World Series run this fall.
Their biggest needs lie at third base and in left field, but adding Hamels to the top of the rotation alongside Clayton Kershaw could be enough to offset those deficiencies and then some.
Some combination of top young arms Zach Lee, Nathan Eovaldi and Allan Webster would be a good place for the package to start but likely wouldn't be enough.
First baseman/outfielder Scott Van Slyke could also be of interest to the Phillies, as he is big-league ready and brings some pop to the table, and Joc Pederson has some serious offensive upside as well.
In the end, the Dodgers may not want to mortgage the future for a chance to win in 2012, but with new ownership in place and the team overperforming, it's not out of the realm of possibility. If nothing else, they will be front-runners to sign him if he does hit the open market.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals young core of hitters has arrived, but the team continues to underperform in large part due to their lack of anything resembling a front-line starter.
Jonathan Sanchez was brought in via trade this offseason, but he has been a disappointment, and guys like Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar are little more than rotation fillers.
The team has a number of young pitcher in the upper levels of the minors with plenty of potential like Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery, but Hamels is a sure thing.
Packaging one of the aforementioned arms with outfield prospect, Wil Myers would be an intriguing selling point of a package that could be filled out with some mid-level guys.
It would certainly go against what the Royals have been doing in recent seasons, but that may not necessarily be a bad thing, and Hamels would certainly fill the void at staff ace.
Boston Red Sox
There is little doubt that the biggest need for the Red Sox right now is starting pitching, and while it remains to be seen if they will even be buyers when the deadline rolls around, it would still benefit them to acquire Hamels regardless.
Will Middlebrooks is likely untouchable in any package, but the team could start a package around 2011 draft pick Matt Barnes and minor league sluggers Ryan Lavarnway/Bryce Brentz.
Anthony Ranaudo offers some intriguing upside as well as a hard-throwing right-hander, and the Red Sox organization is rich with mid-level talent that could fill out a deal.
Essentially, I would think everyone outside of top prospect Xander Bogaerts and Middlebrooks would be available if it meant Hamels for the pitching-starved Red Sox.
New York Yankees
When the Yankees failed to make a big signing last offseason, some believed it was because they were prepping to make a big signing this upcoming offseason, and with Matt Cain locked up by the Giants, Hamels would seem to be the most likely target.
After missing out on Cliff Lee two years ago and failing to land anyone this offseason, the Yankees could decide to assure Hamels heads to New York by trading for him this season and locking him up before he hits the market.
It would no doubt cost the Yankees prized left-hander Manny Banuelos, as he is the team's top prospect with Jesus Montero now in Seattle.
Beyond him, the Yankees have a pair of intriguing low-level prospects with big-time upside in Mason Williams and Dante Bichette Jr., and either one of those player could be enough to push the team over the top.
Someone like David Phelps could be of interest too, as he is big-league ready and could take Hamels' spot in the rotation right away.
Toronto Blue Jays
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Blue Jays have inquired about Hamels, and while it's nothing more than an inquiry at this point, it shows they are interested if nothing else.
Any package the Blue Jays put together would likely have to include catcher Travis d'Arnaud, the top catching prospect in baseball who was sent to the Blue Jays from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay deal.
They'd likely also look for a pitcher capable of stepping in right now to take Hamels' spot, as well as at least one or two more top prospects.
Henderson Alvarez is just 22 years old and already has 19 big-league starts under his belt. He represents a big-league arm with some upside capable of stepping in immediately for Hamels.
From there, the Blue Jays have a number of solid pitching prospects in Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino, Deck McGuire and Asher Wojciechowski that the Phillies could choose from to round out the package.