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Thanks to a number of trades over the past few seasons, the upper level of the Phillies’ farm system has been wiped clean of top-level talent.
The Phillies' system is ranked as the 25th best in baseball according to ESPN's Keith Law, and is lacking the top-end talent needed to ensure long-term success. Philadelphia has only one player on Law's top 100 prospect list, 22-year-old pitcher Trevor May (No. 76), and the Phillies really need to make a substantial effort to bolster their system.
The quickest way to do so would be to deal their current assets at the major league level for other team's top-rated prospects. And Hamels is about as an attractive as an option to other franchises as it gets.
He is a young superstar that could help a team make a playoff push right away. Plus, if the team has the money, they could sign him to a long-term deal moving forward.
Teams like the New York Yankees and the Dodgers, who will both be looking to add a starter at the deadline to bolster their playoff push, have the top-flight prospects to potentially swing a deal for Hamels.
However, the Cardinals could be the most interesting trade destination for Hamels. They have the fourth-rated farm system in baseball according to Law, and would be able to put together a package of three or four top 100 prospects to pry away Hamels from the Phillies. St. Louis also has the financial flexibility with their relatively low payroll to extend him beyond this season.
Trading Hamels now would allow the Phillies to get three or four top end prospects in return, instead of letting him go as a free agent and just receiving compensation picks.
A trade of Hamels would help replenish the farm system and set the team up for the future.
Isn’t the future more important than holding on to the remaining spark of hope for this lost cause of a season?
Yes it is.