The Ongoing Soap Of Cole Hamels And The Philadelphia Phillies
Pitchers and catchers have officially reported for Spring Training and Cole Hamels is still a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Hamels has been the offseason hottest trade target but no team has been able to sway Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr to trade his prized ace. Some say it is because Amaro is just unreasonable in his demands and others say it is just no one has come up with a valid offer. Whatever the case is, the Phillies can’t fully rebuild until Hamels is traded.
The Phillies have already traded veterans Jimmy Rollins, Antonio Bastardo and Marlon Byrd this offseason. However, they have been unable to unload the contract of Ryan Howard, Jonathan Papelbon and of course Hamels. However Hamels is a different case as the Phillies would love to be rid of Howard and the tumultuous Papelbon, with Hamels the team really would like to keep him but he would bring the most back in a trade for a rebuild. Amaro wants teams top prospect as well as having them take on all of Hamel remaining four year contract with a fifth year option that will bring it up to $110 million over five years. So far teams have been reluctant to do either.
Earlier this week Bob Nightengale of USAToday quoted Hamels as saying “I loved my time in Philadelphia but is ready to move on.” Hamels won’t demand a trade, he’s not that type of guy but he is a competitor and he wants to win and he feel the Phillies aren’t fulfilling the promise they made to him when he signed his six year extension.
So far the most active team mentioned in the Hamels discussion has been the Boston Red Sox. The Phillies have insisted upon Boston dealing one of their top prospects outfielder Mookie Betts and catcher Blake Swihart. The Red Sox have scoffed at that notion as they feel dealing a top prospect plus taking on all of Hamels contract is unreasonable. However Swihart is currently blocked at the big league level by young defensive stud Christian Vazquez.
Amaro doesn’t have to trade his crown jewel lefthander but until he does the Phillies will keep struggling mightily for years and years to come. Their farm system needs replenishing. In my opinion I think Amaro eventually caves and accepts an offer from the Red Sox, a deal makes to much sense to happen. A package of Henry Owens, Rafael Devers, Matt Barnes and one of Boston’s glut of extra outfielders should do the trick. Whether or not it is before the season or closer to the July 31st deadline remains to be seen. What is known is that the more and more this process drags on the more boisterous Hamels will become. Stay tuned.
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