According to Rob Bradford of WEEI, the Phillies have changed their approach in negotiating Cole Hamels with clubs. They are willing to pay for more of Hamels’ remaining contract ($88 million), but are still asking for elite prospects.
With lack of interest in meeting Philadelphia’s demands their tactics were nearly forced to change. The rebuilding Phillies have no use for the expensive, yet All-Star level pitcher Hamels, so it has been obvious that he is going to be dealt eventually.
With this change in philosophy, it allows clubs with smaller budgets to enter the bidding like Houston, Minnesota, Kansas City, or Baltimore. It has been long rumored that the Red Sox have had the most interest and have been the best match for the crafty lefty, but aren’t willing to trade Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart for him. Bradford mentions that the Phillies have been scouting the Red Sox’ big league and minor league clubs.
Hamels is set to earn around $15 million for the remainder of this season, $22.5 million in 2016, 2017, and 2018, while the Phillies have a $20 million club option for 2019 that can be bought out for $6 million. If he reaches the innings threshold and doesn’t have any arm problems then that option will be vested.
The 31-year-old lefty has a 20-team no-trade list, and reports say that he wants the final club option to be guaranteed in order to lift his trade clause. The Phillies could be offering to pay most of that as part of their willingness to cover part of his contract.
In 2015, Hamels has posted a 2.91 ERA, 3.94 FIP in 74 1/3 innings pitched while walking 25 and striking out 76. Per pitch f/x his velocity has remained steady while his use of cutters and curveballs have increased. The nine year veteran is allowing 14.5% home runs per flyball, which is up from 8.2% in 2014, and 11.1% in his career.