Philadelphia Phillies: Why They Should Not Trade Cole Hamels

Zak SchmollAnalyst INovember 30, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 4: Starter Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during game three of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 4, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies have been largely criticized for being too focused on the present. However, if the Phillies do indeed want to win right now, Cole Hamels should by no means be traded.

It has been reported by Buster Olney of ESPN and Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus that the Phillies front office might decide to shop the 27-year-old left-hander.

In a sense, I do understand what might motivate this. After the 2012 season, Hamels will indeed be a free agent. He is going to get a monster paycheck because whoever signs him will virtually be getting one of the better pitchers in baseball for his prime.

Since most players hit their prime around their late 20s and early 30s, it is kind of scary to think about what Hamels might be able to do. Last season, he went 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA and an incredibly low 0.99 WHIP.

For those of you like sabermetrics, his 4.9 Wins Above Replacement according to FanGraphs tied for 16th among pitchers. That puts him in pretty elite company.

The Philadelphia Phillies definitely want to win right now, and Hamels could be a very important part of that. Roy Oswalt has already left, so the Phillies could go from the "Four Aces" to the "Two Aces."

However, this should not happen. The Phillies essentially survived last season because of their starting pitching. They helped win many games even when the offense was not producing very well. Hamels was a large part of this success.

If the Phillies trade him away, they are not being consistent with their focus to win now. Granted, I appreciate the fact that he could bring a lot of prospects back to Philadelphia. However, right now is not the time to trade him.

The Phillies are still in a position to compete for the World Series in 2012. Their entire team is not getting any younger, and they will need to rebuild eventually. However, I would argue that they might have one more year before beginning this process.

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