MLB Trade Rumors: Why Cole Hamels Would Be the Start of Texas Rangers Dynasty
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The popular theory has Hamels returning to his West Coast roots and joining the Los Angeles Dodgers, becoming the first step in that franchise's revival under new ownership. But Hamels figures to be pursued by several other playoff contenders who view him as the final piece in assembling a championship roster.
As he usually does, ESPN's Buster Olney has talked to many team officials about the latest rumors and rumblings through baseball leading up to the trade deadline. Olney tweeted that some of those executives are telling him that the Texas Rangers are viewed as the favorite to land Hamels.
The Rangers were already a favorite to make the World Series out of the American League without Hamels. But with him? A championship seems almost assured. And if the Rangers were to sign him to a contract beyond this season? That could be the stuff championship dynasties are made of, as we explain here.
The strongest rotation in the AL
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With Hamels, Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland at the top, along with Alexi Ogando or Neftali Feliz at the back end, the Rangers would have the best starting rotation, one through five, in the American League.
That's not even mentioning Roy Oswalt for this season. That starting five would arguably be the best in baseball for years to come.
The only other team that would come close is their AL West rival. The Los Angeles Angels would counter with Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. Haren has struggled with a back injury this year, but that's a strong top three under regular circumstances.
Maybe an NL starting rotation could give the Rangers a run. The Washington Nationals would probably also have something to say about that, with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler. Edwin Jackson is in the mix this year. The Nats have an excellent top two or three.
Perhaps the best rotation in baseball belongs to the San Francisco Giants with Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner. If Tim Lincecum can turn himself around, that's a tremendous one through four.
But could any team match the Rangers, one through five, for the next three to five years if Hamels signed a long-term contract with them?
A destination for players seeking championships
It's a recurring pattern in every professional team sport. When a particular team becomes a perennial championship contender, players want to go there because they think it's their best chance at getting that ring.
We saw it for years in the NFL with the New England Patriots (and the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers in the pre-salary-cap era). The Detroit Red Wings were the beneficiary of that in the NHL throughout the late '90s and 2000s. In the NBA, we're seeing this now with the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks before them.
The Rangers are already a World Series contender. They have been for at least the past two seasons. But the team will keep adding talent to get to that ultimate goal. They don't necessarily need to add Hamels to their rotation. But they can, and so they'll make that move to provide that final push.
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The Yankees aren't the only destination team in baseball. Look at what the Phillies have done in recent seasons. They won the World Series in 2008 and later added players like Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee because they could see what was happening in Philadelphia. Those two would have a chance to win there.
If the Rangers sign Hamels long-term and also re-sign Josh Hamilton, players throughout baseball can see when a team has a good thing going and want to be a part of it. The Rangers can get a good five-year run out of something like this, cycling strong complementary pieces through their roster to go with a cornerstone core of players.
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