Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino and Josh Hamilton are all in the final year of their respective contracts. The Phillies need someone who can drive in runs; the Rangers don't really need much, but another pitcher could finally give them a World Series ring. Why not make a deal?
The immediate reaction I'm expecting is, "why would the Rangers ever trade Josh Hamilton?" but think about it. That lineup is loaded even without Hamilton. Take him out and you still have Mike Napoli, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy. Plus, this trade would send Shane Victorino to Texas to replace Hamilton.
Add Cole Hamels, and the Rangers have perhaps the best rotation in baseball. Hamels, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish and Roy Oswalt would be the starters and the team could move Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz to the bullpen to join Joe Nathan, Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara—forming what could be the best relief corps in the league.
That is a World Series team if I've ever seen one.
The Phillies would get a middle of the order guy who can single-handedly solve their run production problems. Putting Hamilton in center field would give the Phillies a lineup of Juan Pierre, Chase Utley, Josh Hamilton, Ryan Howard, Hunter Pence, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz.
A lineup like that would enable the Phillies to find their way back into contention.
Even without Hamels, a rotation of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Vance Worley, Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick would keep this team in most ballgames. With a little extra run support, these pitchers can finally start putting up better numbers in the win column.
The Phillies have the second highest payroll in baseball, and the Rangers have the sixth highest. This trade would allow the Phillies to give Hamilton a long-term contract while the Rangers could sign Hamels and find a replacement for Victorino in the offseason.
The Rangers are unlikely to give up their superstar player before the season ends, but this deal could make them a better team.
Will this happen? No. Would it benefit both sides if it did? Yes.
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