Updates from Tuesday, July 29
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal has an update on Hamels' trade status:
Source: #Phillies have received no offers for Hamels, nor have they made any specific requests. No meaningful dialogue.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2014
Source describes a trade of Hamels as the “least likely” of all the deals #Phillies are considering.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2014
Yet, according to one-ranking official directly involved with the talks, the Los Angeles Dodgers recently asked for Hamels. They were told the price would be three of their top prospects - center fielder Joc Pederson, shortstop Corey Seager and left-handed pitcher Julio Urias.
Sorry, the Dodgers said, but no interest.
The Phillies haven't dropped their price tag, and are insisting on three top prospects and a mid-tier prospect in any deal for Hamels.
Updates from Monday, July 28
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on a big market team interested in Cole Hamels:
Maybe it goes without saying, but sources say the #Dodgers are investigating every top available starter - Price, Lester, Hamels, Lackey.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2014
Earlier, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported on trade talks surrounding Hamels:
Sources: Phillies have made Cole Hamels available on trade market, although price remains high. Dodgers interested. @FOXSports1— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 28, 2014
On Cole Hamels, remember that the Cardinals and Dodgers need a starter and can acquire Hamels without his permission.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 28, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, July 22
ESPN's Buster Olney reports on the Philadelphia Phillies' current stance on Cole Hamels:
To date, Phillies telling other teams Cole Hamels is not available.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 22, 2014
Updates from Sunday, July 20
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports what it would take for the Phillies to trade Cole Hamels this summer:
The Phillies are in listen mode on Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels, but Utley and Rollins have full no-trade rights and Hamels is more likely to stay as a building block. To get him, the Phillies would have to be blooooooown away.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe previously reported the Phillies' reaction to recent trade negotiations involving Hamels:
The Phillies have been discouraged by what they're hearing from other teams on Hamels. The Phillies consider him their biggest trade chip, but will hold on to him if they don't get what they consider a fair deal. The Red Sox sent their top pitching scout, Eddie Bane, to watch Hamels before the break. The Phillies have scouted the Red Sox' major and minor league teams all season. One major league source said if the Phillies get a taker on the full contract and they get three top prospects, he's gone, and Hamels, according to another major league source, wouldn't mind.
Cafardo also reported one team in the AL East considering Hamels this summer:
Word is the Blue Jays are in on everyone, from David Price to Hamels to Ben Zobrist and Chase Utley. "They've got their scouts looking at everyone, and [GM Alex] Anthopoulos is very active himself scouting," said one AL special adviser.
Updates from Friday, July 18
Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that the Phillies have no interest in dealing Hamels:
According a major league source, the Phillies are currently showing no inclination to trade Cole Hamels. ...
... It is believed that while the Red Sox had checked in on Hamels availability earlier in the season, there hasn't been any recent discussions between the Sox and Phillies regarding the starter.
Updates from Sunday, July 13
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports the Phillies' ideal stance on Cole Hamels' future within the organization:
The Phillies, who are operating under the organizational mantra of "we've got to get younger," would rather build around Hamels than deal him, but if they do they can't reap the rewards of the likely three good young players they'd get in return.
Cafardo later noted that the Boston Red Sox are among the teams who may have an interest in Hamels:
The Red Sox were one of a few teams to watch Cole Hamels earlier this week. Hamels has four years remaining on his contract.— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 13, 2014
For the third straight season, the Philadelphia Phillies look like they'll be watching October baseball from home. For the third straight season, that futility has raised questions about what general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will do with his high-cost stars—specifically starter Cole Hamels.
The 30-year-old starter again came into July with his name being bandied about in trade talks, as contenders look for ways to separate themselves in a clouded playoff picture. Among the teams most often linked to Hamels has been the Toronto Blue Jays, but Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports highlighted a no-trade clause in Hamels' contract that could prevent a deal to Toronto from happening:
While he might prefer to play for a contender, there is little reason to think Hamels would waive his right to block a move to Toronto. With no less than four years remaining on his contract—there is a vesting option that could trigger a $20 million salary for 2019—any trade the Phillies make would not be a short-term move.
If Hamels were heading into free agency this winter, perhaps he'd be more receptive to a short-term trip up north. Players in the past have waived no-trade clauses under similar situations, and with the Blue Jays trying to keep themselves afloat in the AL playoff race, a short-term fix could have helped both sides.
Hamels' contract complicates matters in that regard. He is less likely to be amenable to waiving his no-trade clause because any deal would require him to spend at least four years in a city where he may not wish to reside. Teams are also going to be skittish knowing the situation—and that's without factoring in the considerable financial commitment.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports noted the Yankees could be in play for Hamels if he becomes available, but even their interest is limited. Hamels is due annual salaries of $22.5 million for each of the next four seasons, per Baseball-Reference. There has been no indication on whether the Phillies would be open to eating some of that salary in exchange for better prospect compensation, though that seems like a possibility.
Even with his high cost, it's not hard to see why teams are kicking the tires on a Hamels trade. A three-time All-Star, he is 2-5 this season but has posted a 2.98 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Other than a few minor blips to start the season, Hamels has been one of the best pitchers in the National League. He posted a 1.23 ERA in six June starts, highlighted by three consecutive scoreless outings.
Over his last 35 GS #Phillies Cole Hamels has 239⅔ IP with a 2.97 ERA, 1.127 WHIP, 8.64 K/9, & batters are .239/.291/.372. He is 9-10.— Ace of MLB Stats (@AceballStats) July 3, 2014
The season has proved a carbon copy of 2013, in which Hamels went 8-14 despite solid peripheral numbers. The Phillies rank 27th or worse in runs, on-base percentage, batting average and slugging percentage. Run support has been nonexistent throughout most of the season, a point of contention that Hamels admitted to reporters is frustrating:
It's a team game, and even if [the hitters] are pressing too hard, then I'm pressing too hard. They like to win, and we're all accustomed to winning, so when you're not doing so, you want it and press instead of just going back to basics and playing simplified baseball. I'm probably a big culprit of it, trying to be too fine and not calming down.
Despite the recent frustrations, Hamels remains one of the most consistent starters in baseball. He's pitched at least 200 innings each of the last four seasons and five of his last six. Though he battled through some issues at the beginning of 2014, his injury history is minimal. Hamels has made at least 28 starts every year since his rookie season.
When it comes to trading for Hamels, it's a risk-reward situation. Being on the hook for upwards of $100 million is something few teams can even consider—let alone give up assets to make happen. With Hamels holding a no-trade clause against one of the few teams willing to deal, he and the Phillies might wind up stuck together again in a playoff-less October.
Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.