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Cole Hamels Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz and Speculation Surrounding Star Pitcher

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels throws against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
H. RUMPH JR/Associated Press

Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels has been the subject of numerous trade rumors and reports as teams look to bolster their rotations with the lefty's services. The Texas Rangers,  New York YankeesBoston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers have all expressed interest in acquiring the ace. 

Continue for updates.


Rangers Have Stayed in Contact with Phillies Regarding Hamels

Friday, March 20

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported that the Rangers and Phillies aren't close to a Hamels deal:

The Rangers and Phillies continue to remain in contact regarding star Phillies left-handerCole Hamels, according to people familiar with the talks.

The teams have discussed Rangers prospects who'd go in a package for Hamels, but the sides were said to be still far apart. At this point, the parties weren't necessarily expressing great optimism the gap could be closed, but they aren't closing the door, either.

On Saturday, March 14, Heyman reported that the Rangers were still trying to work out a deal:

The Rangers are said to have stayed in touch with Philly periodically regarding Hamels, and while a person familiar with their talks suggested "nothing's fresh" at the moment, it makes too much sense not to step up those discussions. The Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Padres and others have been tied more frequently to Hamels, but Texas is the team that makes the most sense.

As one competing GM pointed out, the Rangers are a rare team with both the money and the prospects to make it work.


'Nothing Has Changed' with Red Sox, Hamels

Monday, March 16

"Nothing has changed about the Sox’ inquiries about Phillies ace lefty Cole Hamels, according to multiple major league sources, which is to say Swihart remains wholly off-limits," reported Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.

CSNNE.com reported on March 3 that Charlie Kerfeld, the special assistant to Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, attended the Red Sox's spring workouts and detailed how that has spurred rumors surrounding a potential Hamels deal: 

Comcast SportsNet's Red Sox Insider, Sean McAdam, says it's "not common" for an executive at Kerfeld's level to be attending other teams' workouts at this stage of camp, and it may mean there's movement on the Hamels front.

"Certainly the Phillies have already put a lot of time into scouting the Red Sox system," McAdam told Trenni Kusnierek on Monday's SportsNet Central. "Charlie was around, as well as others, for most of the year, both at the major-league level and looking at the top two or three affiliates in the minor leagues.

"This may be a signal the Phillies are getting closer to pulling that trigger, and want one more look -- or a couple more looks -- at some people that the Red Sox might be able to offer (for Hamels)."

On Feb. 26, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reported there was 'no sense of urgency' for the Red Sox in attempting to acquire Hamels:

The Red Sox continue to closely monitor the Cole Hamels situation with the Philadelphia Phillies, but, according to an industry source, 'there's no sense of urgency' to get a deal done soon for the lefty starter.

(...)

Another source said the Sox are known to have made their interest in Hamels clear to the Phillies. But they remain steadfast in their refusal to part with either catcher Blake Swihart or outfielder Mookie Betts as part of any package for Hamels.


Yankees Have Come Closest to Landing Hamels

Sunday, March 8

"According to one Phillies source, the Yankees have come the closest to landing Hamels, offering a package of prospects that at least has given the Phillies a baseline for future talks," reported Nick Cafardo of BostonGlobe.com.

Cafardo added, "Hamels, who pitched two strong innings in his spring training debut Friday against the Yankees, has stopped talking about a trade. He said before camp that he was looking forward to pitching for a contender again, and that he would welcome a deal to Boston."


Amaro Comments on Trade Rumors

Thursday, Feb. 19

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. talked about the rumors swirling around Hamels, according to Bob Nightingale of USA Today:

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale

Ruben Amaro says he had no problem with Cole Hamels" comments and understands why he wants to pitch for a contender. #Phillies

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale

Ruben Amaro also believes Hamels will be opening day starter for #Phillies

Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News provided more: 

Ryan Lawrence @ryanlawrence21

Amaro's reaction to Cole Hamels' comments about how winning "is just not going to happen" with Phillies. http://t.co/DBNe9xW3PN

On Jan. 20, Amaro sounded like a man who planned to keep Cole Hamels for the 2015 season when he recently commented on the star player, via Jake Kaplan of Philly.com:

I think Cole Hamels is going to be in our uniform, frankly. I don’t really foresee him being moved. It is possible because we’re literally keeping our minds and eyes and ears open on every player that we have on our roster.

That said, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. And so, if we were to move him, we’re going to have to get some of the best prospects in baseball back.

He would go on to say he would prefer to keep Hamels but isn't completely ruling out a trade:

In fact, the ownership group I think would rather keep him than not. But we have to be good listeners and I think we owe it to the franchise and the organization to listen on possible opportunities, and there have been some clubs that have been aggressive. Not aggressive enough, obviously, because we haven’t done anything.

If I was going to handicap it, I would probably say that he’d be in our pinstripes on opening day and pitching against Boston. 

Nightengale previously talked to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. about the trade rumors surrounding Cole Hamels on Nov. 13: 

"He was neutral when I talked to him,'' Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro revealed. "Happy to go. I think he wants to win, but he signed his contract, and he plans on honoring the contract, obviously.''

Nightengale also detailed why the lefty hasn't been dealt yet:

Teams should be lining up outside the hall of Amaro's suite at the Arizona Biltmore to make enticing trade proposals for Hamels.

Yet, the cruel reality is that in today's marketplace, there's a greater chance of the Yankees retiring Alex Rodriguez's number than Hamels pitching in a different uniform on opening day.

The Chicago Cubs covet him. They would rather have him than Max Scherzer, Jon Lester or James Shields.

The trouble is that all Scherzer, Lester and Shields cost you is money. They're all free agents.

Hamels costs you money -- four years and $96 million remaining on his contract -- and those coveted prospects.

No one these days wants to part with both.

"You've seen in the last several years that those prospects are highly coveted,'' Amaro says. "It seems like teams are more apt to just spend money, because it's just money. It's not entities that they're giving up as far as players are concerned, or talent. That's kind of the trend we're in.

"At the same time, there's risk with that. You're doling out a lot of money. It's a difficult balance. "But the reality of it is, there isn't that many elite pitchers out there. So we'll see what happens."


Hamels Comments on Trade Rumors

Wednesday, Feb. 18

Hamels spoke with the media for the first time since the end of the 2014 season Wednesday, and while he didn't come out and demand a trade, it's clear he would prefer to pitch for a contending team, per Nightengale:

The words flow out of Cole Hamels' mouth without hesitation, equivocation, or the slightest tinge of remorse.

He wants to be traded from the Philadelphia Phillies.

"I just want to win. And I know it's not going to happen here. This isn't what I expected. It's not what the Phillies expected, either. But it's reality."

Hamels went on to say that he's been reading the rumors about his status just like everyone else:

I don't watch much TV in the off-season, and I had friends texting me and telling me what's going on, so I tried to stay away from all of it. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I was checking the Internet to see the latest.

I wanted to see where I was going to spend my next four years. Now that I'm here, I plan on being here for the next six weeks. I think it would be pretty chaotic if that's not the case. But it's out of my control.


Red Sox 1 of 4 Teams to Make Offer for Hamels

Sunday, Feb. 15

Cafardo confirmed the Red Sox are one of four teams that have made an offer for Hamels. Cafardo provided the following details:

The package Boston offered was heavy on the major league side, trying to avoid giving up any of their top prospects. Suffice it to say, that won’t get you Hamels. The Phillies are insistent on prospects, and if they don’t get them now they’ll wait until the trade deadline when there might be more desperation by teams seeking to win.

On Wednesday, Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly provided comments from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who spoke about offers the team has gotten for Hamels:

"Eight teams have kicked the tires," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told CSNPhilly.com on Wednesday.

How many teams have made offers?

"Real offers?" Amaro said.

"Four."

Amaro previously commented on the team's ongoing trade talks regarding Hamels, per ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Amaro confirmed Philadelphia is still talking with several interested teams, though nothing is imminent at this time.

He commented on potentially reaching a deal before or during spring training in light of other star free-agent pitchers already joining other teams:

As long as he's still with us, there's a chance something could happen. I can't really handicap it. It certainly seems likely he'll be in camp with us, but it can change. Guys get hurt in spring training a lot. Teams can have different assessments of where they are as they begin to look at their club. There's a whole slew of different circumstances that could affect how teams view their club. So maybe somebody could change course. [...]

Cole is a unique situation. (To acquire him) requires talent and money. So it's a totally different dynamic than it would be for someone to acquire one of the free agents. So I'm not really sure what the direct impact is, or whether there is a direct impact.


Teams Failing to Come Up with Worthy Package for Hamels

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Nightengale reported that while teams remain interested in Hamels, they are still falling short of enticing the Phillies enough to make a deal happen:

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale

There are 5 to to 6 teams still trying to trade for #Phillies ace Cole Hamels but no one yet close to coming up with package Phillies covet.

Nightengale gave insight into what sort of compensation the Phillies are seeking: 

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale

The #Phillies want prized catching prospect Blake Swihart from #Redsox in deal for Hamels. The Red Sox continue to refuse. #stalemate

On Saturday, Jan. 31, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal noted the Padres were one team with enough firepower to acquire Hamels, and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports backed that up Tuesday, Feb. 3, by noting that San Diego isn't on Hamels' no-trade list and is seeking a front-line starting pitcher.


Phillies Assistant GM Comments on Potential Hamels Trade

Sunday, Jan. 18

"You never know...These things don't happen over night," said Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock regarding a potential Cole Hamels trade to San Diego, per MLB Network Radio. 

On Dec. 21, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reported on San Diego's entry into the market for Cole Hamels:

The Padres have had discussions about trading for San Diego native Cole Hamels with new outfielder Wil Myers as potential bait, according to a baseball source.

(...)

As a rule, the Phillies front office does not discuss possible trades or free agents signings through the media.

Although, Myers may not be going anywhere, according to Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego at the time:

Indications from sources within the organization, however, are that the Padres intend on playing all three of their newest outfielders, including Myers. The early plan is for the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year to start in center field, flanked by fellow power-hitting right-handers Justin Upton and Matt Kemp.

Of course, considering Preller’s recent level of activity and the hour-to-hour nature of the offseason, the situation could always change. But the Padres view Myers as a long-term piece, which was why they gave up top prospects Joe Ross and Trea Turner in Thursday’s three-team trade with the Rays and the Nationals.


Four Primary Trade Suitors for Hamels Emerge

Thursday, Jan. 15

Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reported on the trade market for Cole Hamels as we get closer to spring training:

Five weeks before spring training, there are four primary suitors for Hamels, according to sources. Those teams are the San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox.

The Phillies’ price remains high for Hamels and they will not deal him unless they get the value they are looking for. They’ve been burned in the past by dealing aces Cliff Lee and Curt Schilling and they can’t afford for that to happen again. Amaro, with his job on the line, certainly can’t afford for it to happen. Those aware of the Phillies’ desires say the team would have to get two top talents to move Hamels, who is signed through 2018 at $96 million and possibly through 2019 at $110 million if his option kicks in.

Rob Bradford of WEEI provided info on Hamels' value:

According to a source familiar with the Phillies’ thinking on the matter, Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro and his club have been “unrealistic in their expectations” in regard to a return on Hamels.

On Wednesday, Jan. 12, Heyman noted that the Padres were still a potential destination for Hamels:

Fresh off a trio of bold impact moves to rework their entire outfield and the middle of their lineup, the aggressive Padres are still said to be alive for another potential blockbuster, this one involving Philly's ace lefthander Cole Hamels – although, others teams also are in the mix, and ultimately it isn't known exactly how likely San Diego is to land Hamels, a hometown hero from San Diego.

But while nothing appears imminent, or even necessarily on the front burner, one executive with another team suggested the Padres may be more likely than some others to land Hamels, based on their decent prospect list and obvious resolve to contend in 2015.

On Dec. 14, Cafardo reported on the market for Cole Hamels as the Phillies explore trading their star pitcher:

The Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, and Rangers are interested in Hamels. The sleeper team is the aggressive Astros. The Giants may be in if they can’t get James Shields. The feeling has been that if the Red Sox would pick up Hamels’s 2019 option at $20 million, he would waive his no-trade. The five years remaining on Hamels’s deal would be worth $110 million. Would he want an extension beyond that to OK a trade?


Cardinals Interested in Ace Southpaw

Wednesday, Jan. 7

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi have the latest on Hamels:

The St. Louis Cardinals say they like their starting rotation. But that is not preventing them from pursuing a major upgrade.

The team is exploring trades for left-handers Cole Hamels and David Price and the possibility of signing free-agent right-hander Max Scherzer, according to major-league sources.

No deal appears close on any front, and it’s possible that the Cardinals will simply decide that the acquisition cost in each case is too high.


Giants Join List of Interested Teams

Wednesday, Dec. 10

According to Stark, a new team has joined the fray to land Cole Hamels:

Jayson Stark @jaysonst

Add the #SFGiants to the list of teams interested in Cole Hamels, sources say. So all 3 teams that lost out on Lester - SF, Bos, LA - are in


Hamels Has 20 Teams on No-Trade Clause

Monday, Nov. 10

The Boston Red Sox have been viewed as a potential landing spot for Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels for months. There's just one problem: Hamels' contract specifically forbids the Phillies from trading him to Boston without his permission.   

Rosenthal reported that Boston is one of 20 teams named on Hamels' no-trade clause, though he notes a deal could still be reached:

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal

Sources: #RedSox one of 20 teams on Hamels’ no-trade list. He would need to give #Phillies approval to trade him to Boston.

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal

Hamels would not necessarily reject #RedSox, but likely would require any team on no-trade list to pick up his $20 million option for 2019.

Hamels, 30, is expected to be one of the biggest names available on the trade market this winter as the Phillies look to retool their aging roster. Salisbury reported management was looking for at least three quality prospects in return for Hamels, who has been a bastion of consistency despite the poor play around him.

He had a career-best ERA (2.46) and had his eighth straight season between 3.5 and 4.6 wins above replacement, per FanGraphs. Despite his consistency, Hamels is only 17-23 over the last two seasons, garnering some of the worst run support in baseball. The Phillies averaged just 3.43 runs in Hamels' starts in 2014 and 3.36 in 2013, per ESPN.com.

Philadelphia has missed the playoffs the last two seasons and had its first losing campaign in more than a decade in 2014. Phillies interim CEO Pat Gillick told Corey Seidman of CSN Philly the team won't contend for at least the next two seasons.

"I think we’re more toward rebuilding than reloading," Gillick said. "That’s my opinion. I think it's hard to ask the fans, it's hard to ask the media, it's hard to ask, you know, anyone, to be patient. Patience is kind of thin these days. But I think this is going to be more of a rebuilding, more of a restructuring than a reloading."

Trading Hamels could help that rebuild. Even with a hefty contract, he could be a Cy Young contender if moved to the right club.

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

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