Dodgers Trade Scenarios: 3 Trade Packages That Could Land Cole Hamels
Now that the Dodgers’ early season magic has worn off, there are visible gaps in the team that are beginning to show.
We’ve known all season long that the Blue Crew needs to upgrade its corner infielders James Loney and Juan Uribe, two high-paid players who have been struggling to put up any significant offensive numbers this season.
Although the Dodgers’ rotation appeared to be one of the best in the MLB at the beginning of the season with solid outings from Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano backing up young ace and reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley has had a poor season by his standards and has been very inconsistent.
As the No. 2 starter, Billingsley has been quite a letdown for the Dodgers with a record of 4-9 and a 4.30 earned run average. He has had some stellar starts over the years but has been marked by inconsistency and has never really developed into the pitcher that the team has needed.
As we near the trade deadline at the end of July, there is one prominent replacement for Billingsley who would be a game-changer for the Dodgers: Phillies ace Cole Hamels. Of course the price tag would be hefty, but acquiring Hamels would be a huge step for the Dodgers in bulking up their roster for the postseason.
Here are the trade packages that could lead to Hamels wearing Dodger blue.
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Dodgers get: Cole Hamels
Phillies get: Chad Billingsley, minor-league prospects (two or three)
Hamels’ new contract may be too much for the Phillies to afford and if they don’t decide to offer him a handsome contract they are looking to trade him before his salary jumps from $15 million to probably more than $20 million.
Billingsley, on the other hand, is making $9 million and probably won’t be seeing a pay increase in his contract given his performance this season.
In the proposed scenario, the Phillies would still be getting a decent pitcher in Billingsley but at a much more affordable cost. Trading the two pitchers straight up wouldn’t be enough, so the Dodgers would have to throw in some minor-league prospects in order to make the deal sufficient to the Phillies.
The Phillies are looking to either go all out and sign Hamels to a huge contract or go a completely different route and trade Hamels and outfield Shane Victorino in order to free up salary room.
In the event that the Phillies want to sell Hamels, they don’t want to bring in an expensive replacement and Billingsley would be a perfect match for them. Again, it all depends on the Phillies mentality, but if they are willing to sell Hamels then Billingsley would be a good pickup for them.
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Dodgers get: Cole Hamels (PHI), Ty Wiggington (PHI), Chase Headley (SD)
Phillies get: Chad Billingsley (LAD), Carlos Quentin (SD), minor-league prospects (two or three: LAD)
Padres get: James Loney (LAD), Juan Uribe (LAD), Juan Pierre (PHI), minor-league prospect (LAD)
This three-way deal could work for all three teams involved. The Phillies would get a replacement for Hamels and would be able to get an upgrade in left field by trading Pierre and acquiring Quentin.
With Ryan Howard back from the disabled list, Ty Wigginton will see much less playing time, and if the Phillies were to acquire another left fielder then John Mayberry Jr. would be their primary backup at first base.
The deal may be a stretch on the Padres’ end because they would be giving up their top two power hitters; however, those numbers are relative to a struggling San Diego squad. As the team’s second-best power hitter, Carlos Quentin is hitting .266 with eight home runs and 22 runs batted in, which isn’t very impressive when compared to the rest of the MLB.
Loney and Uribe may perform better in a new setting and could be key contributors to the Padres. Although he has been struggling for the Dodgers, Loney still has potential at 28 and Uribe has veteran experience at 33 and can be a major run-producer when he turns it on like he did with the Giants in 2010.
Adding Pierre to the Padres would make them one of the best base-stealing teams in the league. Although his fielding is at a low level, he is can get on base (.316 batting average, .354 on-base percentage) and would be a booster to the bottom of the lineup.
The Dodgers would receive a complete transformation by acquiring Hamels, Wigginton, and Headley. They would be giving away their two under-performing corner infielders to a struggling team that would be happy to have them, and would be trading a decent No. 2 starter who is having a bad season so far but could rebound for the Phillies in the second half or next season.
Giving up minor-league prospects would be well worth it in order to acquire stars like Hamels and Headley. Wigginton would also be a good replacement for the lackluster Loney, who has been on a declining slope for far too long
This proposed deal may seem a little too fantastical, but it can happen if the other two involved teams are of accommodating mindsets. If the Phillies are looking to free up salary room and the Padres are looking to bulk up on established players, then this deal can happen. If not, it’s a stretch.
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Dodgers get: Cole Hamels, Antonio Bastardo
Phillies get: Chad Billingsley, Kenley Jansen,two minor-league prospects
After trading Chad Qualls to the New York Yankees, the Phillies are in need of a setup man and Kenley Jansen would be a perfect fit.
The Dodgers would be able to move Javy Guerra back into the closer role or might also consider trying to sign an established closer before the trade deadline.
The Phillies would give up their big pitching star Hamels but would receive a good No. 2 starter in Billingsley.
Bastardo, who has been the Phillies setup man this season, has performed decently but has been blowing crucial games lately for the team. Jansen would be a much better fit as a setup man on any team and the Phillies could use a more dominant presence in the bullpen.
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Realistically, the chances of the Dodgers signing Cole Hamels currently stand pretty low (about 25 percent chance, as it stands right now), but it would be a monumental deal if the new ownership was able to put something together with general manager Ned Colletti to acquire the star southpaw.
All signs are pointing to the Phillies presenting Hamels with a tremendous deal that he couldn’t refuse or the Texas Rangers making a landmark deal to fill C.J. Wilson’s void in the Rangers’ starting rotation.
Nevertheless, the Dodgers still stand a chance at acquiring Hamels if they can put together an appealing deal for the Phillies.
With Howard and Utley back in the lineup, the Phillies are solid offensively and should get back on track, win games, and their way up in the National League East standings (currently fifth place, 39-51).
However, in the event that Howard and Utley don’t have an immediate impact and the team’s playoffs prospects seem dim, they will most likely try to rebuild for next season, which would entail trading Shane Victorino and Cole Hamels to free up salary room.
If that happens, count the Dodgers in for Hamels.
Imagine Kershaw as the Dodgers No. 1 and Hamels as the No. 2.