Following months of trade talks and scouting prospects, it seems the Phillies have found their unmarred trading partner. And unambiguously, the Rangers and Phillies are perfect trade partners. Texas has the explicit need, the prospects the Phillies are looking for in return, and the money.
There has been a consistent suggestion surrounding Cole Hamels during these trade talks; the suggestion that Ruben Amaro, the Phillies GM, is asking an excessive amount in return. The Phillies were looking at Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts from Boston. From Los Angeles, some combination of Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, and Julio Urias was the asking price.
We should dispel that nonsensical suggestion right now. Let’s look at who Cole Hamels is.
Cole Hamels is the definition of an ace. He owns a career 3.27 ERA. Since 2007, he has failed to hit the 200 IP mark only twice (2007-183.1 and 2009-193). And don’t forget his postseason success, most notably winning the NLCS AND World Series MVP in 2008.
Cole Hamels is a game changer, and a season saver. The Rangers were depleted by injuries in 2014, and are looking to bounce back in 2015. It would make no sense to give up so quickly on a season. Especially with bats like Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo returning healthy in 2015.
The Rangers and Phillies have expressed mutual interest before this year. In 2009, it was reported Texas would be willing to send then-top prospect Mike Olt in return for Hamels.
The Phillies are looking for an assortment of two or three very good, soon-to-be major league ready prospects. Guys like Joey Gallo, Jorge Alfaro, Luke Jackson, Alex Gonzalez, and Nick Williams certainly fit that mold.
At one point, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Diego were all in the running for Hamels. Boston undoubtedly needs starting pitching, but aren’t willing to give up highly coveted prospects. The Cubs signed Jon Lester. The Dodgers already have two aces (maybe you’ve heard of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke?). San Diego signed James Shields. Now can we see why Texas is the only adequate trading partner?
There is a deal to be made here. It makes perfect sense for both sides. Now, let’s get it done.