Trade Candidate: Cole Hamels

The Phillies aren't accustomed to losing more than they win, but if their early-season struggles continue and they're out of contention by the July 31st trade deadline, they could become sellers. Teams are already asking about Cole Hamels and the inquiries will become more frequent if the Phillies don't re-enter the NL East race within the next two months.

Cole Hamels - Phillies (PW)

Hamels has been the 12th-most valuable pitcher in baseball since he first broke in to the Major Leagues in 2006, according to FanGraphs' version of the wins above replacement metric. He's off to another tremendous start, with a 2.28 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and a 41.3% ground ball rate through 47 1/3 innings in 2012. He'll be the best pitcher available if the Phillies decide they're serious about selling.

Yet two factors will limit Hamels' value for potentially interested teams. He’ll be a free agent in a few months and there's no indication he's willing to sign an extension at a discount, especially this close to the open market. Secondly, any team that acquires him can’t get a compensatory pick if he signs elsewhere. Under baseball's new collective bargaining agreement teams don't obtain future draft picks for losing players they acquired midseason. Interested teams would be looking at a two or three-month rental.

Recent midseason deals involving elite left-handed pitchers haven’t worked out particularly well for the teams obtaining prospects. Hamels’ teammate Cliff Lee was traded for Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson in 2009 then dealt for Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Justin Smoak the following season. The Brewers acquired C.C. Sabathia for Matt LaPorta, Rob Bryson and Zach Jackson in 2008. 

The Indians and Mariners haven’t obtained the elite performers they were hoping for, but Knapp, Carrasco, Smoak and LaPorta were considered top prospects when they were dealt. There’s no reason for the Phillies to expect less than an elite prospect plus secondary pieces for Hamels. They may even aim to obtain multiple top prospects for the left-hander. If no team meets their asking price, they can hold onto Hamels, tender him a one-year contract this offseason and obtain draft pick compensation assuming he declines the offer and signs elsewhere. 

Though Hamels' contract expires after the season, he has the potential to become the primary attraction of this summer's trade market. The Blue Jays have reportedly checked in on him and it's easy to envision teams such as the Red Sox, Tigers and Dodgers expressing interest if Hamels does become available. Other clubs will surely lose starting pitchers to the disabled list in the coming ten weeks, so new interest will emerge.

Ruben Amaro Jr. has successfully navigated the midseason trade deadline as a buyer, trading for front-of-the-rotation starters Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt. The GM could face a new challenge this summer if the last-place Phillies don't improve on their 16-19 record. Amaro would have leverage, since Hamels would generate considerable interest and the Phillies could always keep him and obtain draft pick compensation in 2013 if interested teams propose one-sided trades.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

94 Responses to Trade Candidate: Cole Hamels Leave a Reply

  1. chico65 3 years ago

    It’ll be Christmas in July with many teams surely looking forward to Cole in their stockings.

  2. Jimmymfb 3 years ago

    You forgot Michael Brantley as part of the CC trade. He was the ptbnl.

  3. ukJaysfan 3 years ago

    It will be interesting to see how such a trade pans out, considering the acquiring team won’t have draft picks in the back of their mind.  I wouldn’t be upset to see the Blue Jays try to get him for a package of top shelf prospects. I would be disappointed however if such a trade occurred without the Jays being given a window to negotiate a 2-3 year extension in the same way the Halladay trade went.

    • stl_cards16 3 years ago

      I don’t think Hamels would be willing to negotiate with anyone besides the Phillies mid-season unless the acquiring team was willing to pay free-agent dollars for him.  So they might as well wait until free-agency.  This is a much different situation than when Halladay was dealt.

      • ukJaysfan 3 years ago

        Yeah I see the point there. But I’m assuming that the acquiring team will already treat the trade as effectively a free agent signing.  Give up prospects for an exclusive negotiating window for one of the top free agents of the upcoming offseason.  I don’t think anyone thinks Hamels would or should sign a below market contract.

        • johnsmith4 3 years ago

          Only time I have seen AA overpay is when he believes the acquisition will return draft picks at the end of his contract.

          • ukJaysfan 3 years ago

            It’s hard to define what an overpay is here though.  AA always says they set a value on a given player – so who knows what they would set on a player like Hamels.

          • Wek 3 years ago

            Unless you are give up fringe “prospects” it is an overpay. Reason being, the new draft pick system. You could still justify the trade if you could at least get 2 top draft pick for him if he walks. Now you either overpay in terms of money or years or lose the prospect you traded for a 3 month rental.

        • stl_cards16 3 years ago

          He could sign, but at that point he’s just over two months from hitting Free Agency.  If he gets that close, he probably decides to go ahead and hit the market and be able to pick and choose where he wants to go.  Who knows though, maybe he really likes Toronto(or some other place) and something like that does happen.  It seems very unlikely to me, though.

        • Wek 3 years ago

          An exclusive negotiating window is useless if you are going to pay market value. It actually works against you since the player has no obligation to sign a contract unless he likes the amount of money or years. In essence you will have to pay whatever the player is looking for AND give up top prospects.

          • imachainsaw 3 years ago

             it’s hardly useless. it gives you significant time to work out a deal before the season ends and the player hits free agency. in essence it gives a club a two-three month head start in the negotiation process than the other 29 teams. they might still not be able to consummate a deal in that time span if the club is not fully committed to holding onto the player, but it’s still not useless.

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago

      Cole Hamels WILL net draft comp if he’s not extended. You have to offer the player the average salary of the 125 highest paid players on a 1 year deal to get the picks, which is probably going to be about 13MM. And just about every team in baseball wants Hamels for 1yr/13MM and Hamels will turn that down to pursue larger contracts.

      The new compensation system essentially eliminates draft comp for relievers and average/mediocre players, but elite guys will still net draft picks if they walk.

      Edit: reading comprehension fail. Ignore this post.

      • ukJaysfan 3 years ago

        Only if the Phillies don’t trade him.  Any acquiring team will get bupkiss.

      • stl_cards16 3 years ago

        He will only net the Phillies draft picks is the point.  As the article stated, in the new CBA you cannot receive draft pick compensation for a player acquired mid-season.  Only for players that were on YOUR roster to start the season.  That could hurt Hamel’s(or any free-agent to be) value on the trade market quite a bit.

        • melonis_rex 3 years ago

          And, I totally missed that in the article. Reading comprehension fail.

      • Wek 3 years ago

        ukJaysfan was talking about the acquiring team (the team that traded for Hamels, not the Phillies) not getting draft picks if Hamels walks away.

  4. Jimmymfb 3 years ago

    I only mention it because he’s the only useful piece acquired.

  5. mets73 3 years ago

    “The Phillies aren’t accustomed to losing more than they win”  They have an all-time record of 9253-10311 and have the most losses of any professional team in American history.  I know they have been good lately but they are very accustomed to losing…

    • nm344 3 years ago

      And those 1930s teams are relevant to this discussion how?

      • HobokenMetsFan 3 years ago

        The teams from the 30’s arent relevant, but the ones from the 20’s and 40’s are.

      • imachainsaw 3 years ago

        point being it’s a faulty statement.

    • mets73 3 years ago

      Faulty statement and as a digruntled mets fan the last few years I will take my grabs at the Phillies every chance I get.

  6. Bender44 3 years ago

    Tis yet but early, but if the Phils are like 10 games out at the deadline I could see them moving him.  The problem is who will be willing to trade multiple top prospects that I’m sure Amaro would want in exchange for a few months of Hamels.  It probably doesn’t make sense just trade him for trade’s sake, since they probably belief that they (the Phillies) can still work something out long-term in the meantime.  It might be worth keeping him on the team if for no other reason then you have more negotiating time.  Assuming talks aren’t completely dead in the water at that point. 

    Money for the Phillies isn’t really an issue(other than for avoiding the luxury tax), but the years might be.  If Hamels could agree to a 5 year 120-ish million with a 6 year option, the Philles might consider it.  Anything more than that, I dunno….    

    • nm344 3 years ago

      Phillies could also trade him and then sign him back in FA Cliff Lee style.

      • Bender44 3 years ago

         I thought of that, but that seems too perfect a conclusion to happen again. 

  7. Ron Loreski 3 years ago

    If the Orioles are still in it mid-season, they have the prospects to pull this off.

    • Hahaha, no! I wouldn’t want Hamels. If anything, I would want Doc Halladay.
      Also, you really think the O’s wold have enough to get any of them for that matter? In my opinion, I don’t think they do.

      My list of teams for Hamels though.
      1.) Tigers
      2.) Dodgers

      1.) Royals
      2.) A’s

      • rainyperez 3 years ago

        A’s? Wait what benefit does that give them? 

      • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

        I don’t like to talk in absolutes but I can safely say Doc will never be an Oriole

      • Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

        Not about talent… no chance Doc waves his no trade to play for Baltimore.

        … almost no chance he even waives his no trade at all.

        • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

          His window is closing.. I just think he wants to win it all.. I think he will waive it. but only if the phils are out of it and its to a favourite.

          Thats a lot of ifs right now, and I’m sure the phils will climb back in to the race

    • Matt_P102 3 years ago

      Not unless they’re willing to trade away either Machado or Bundy. They can’t afford to part with either for a two month rental.

      • melonis_rex 3 years ago

        Not if its midseason and they legitimately look like they’re one pitcher away from the playoffs.

        At that point, a trade for a superstar rental becomes a near no-brainer for revenue and win curve reasons.

    • MB923 3 years ago

      You really think so? Their farm system was ranked 19th overall, and they only have 2 players in the Top 100 overall (Machado and Bundy)

      I really really doubt that.

    • I was thinking the O’s, too. Problem is two-fold. One, who would the Phillies possibly want off the Oriole roster (a young pitcher, but that defeats the purpose of getting Hamels. Reimold and ??? Doubt it.). Two, what are the odds Hamels will actually sign a new deal with Baltimore? One good season (assuming it lasts) since 1996 does not make one’s mouth water.

  8. Carter 3 years ago

    Amaro should have locked him up last year.  Now he’ll pay the price of not doing so.

  9. senior52 3 years ago

    Phillies out of contention by trade deadline.That would be awesome.

    • nm344 3 years ago

      Except it will give them a rare chance to reload instead of going all-in every year.  Would certainly improve them in 2013+

      • except for the fact that they owe $25M to Howard and $20+ to Lee and Halladay. A lot of money tied up in those 3 guys, with an aging Utley and Rollins.

  10. LittleZemo 3 years ago

    The problem is no one in the NL East is really running away with it. The Phillies should be a lot further back than they are. They could go on a run and compete for the wildcard, or even first place.

    I’d also like to state how terrible Ruben Amaro has been since taking over. The Phillies should never be in a position to consider trading a homegrown player like Hamels. It’s a shame.

    • Beyond_Max_Power 3 years ago

      Very true.  He could have signed Cole last year for 5/$100M and he declined, sticking to his 5/$85M.  Now Cole can get $120M or much more depending on the years someone will throw him.

      Thank God we signed Howard two years early (5 left is insane at $125M), I could name a bunch of people who got too many years (Poly, Kendrick, Ibanez, Rollins, Nix, Blanton).  He took over a WS winner, added $85M to the payroll, and this is what we get.  Don’t even get me started on how they handled Utley in the off-season.  

      Disgruntled Phillies fan is an understatement.  If you would like I can do my rant on Chuck as well, lol.

  11. During their run since 2007 it hasn’t been uncommon for the Phillies to be only a couple of games over .500 as late June or July.  Last year they had an atypical fast start, but in other seasons:  2010  they were only two games over .500 (48-46) as late as 7/21; 2009 39-37 on 7/2; 2008 24-22 on 5/19 and 44-39 on 6/29; and in 2007 they were 43-44 on 7/7.  So if they continue to be unable to put together a string of good games, yeah I’ll be concerned.  Otherwise not so much.

    • Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

      Still might not save Hamels/Victorino though. Could do a lateral move to add an offensive piece (who that would be, I have no idea). Like a three team swap type of thing. 

  12. john12121212 3 years ago

    Too rich for AA. He likes to sign cheapies and controllable players. Jays are out!

    • 0noggin 3 years ago

      Not necessarily. Jays management doesn’t like long contracts, it’s true, but if the Jays are in contention in July and Hamels is available on a 1-2 year contract, I think they’d go for it.

  13. Joey E 3 years ago

    look up the phillies on base leaders. it’s pretty hilarious

    • Bender44 3 years ago

       Drawing walks is for communists.  First pitch pop-up to the second basemen is far more American.

      • imachainsaw 3 years ago

        considering the top offenses are usually the ones who draw the most (or near the most) walks, I consider this statement to be spot on.

  14. all i gotta say is i sense another ” cliff Lee situation ” happening. team gives up prospects to obtain hamels ( like the rangers did for lee although it was a trade with seattle, but just few months before that he was with philly and sent to seattle inorder to aquire halladay.) and hamels turns around and resigns with philly for less money and years then what other teams offered. (just like lee did when the rangers and yankees were going after him) so basically the phillies will be getting prospects for a guy who will be back on the team come spring training next season.

    • Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

      Really similar situations. Both guys, it’s reported want CC Sabathia type dollars as a free agent.

      I don’t think they trade Hamels though. They’ve invested way too much into making this a pitching first team. They’re a hot streak away from being back in the race.

      • I agree completely. I would be shocked if they traded Hamels. I still picture him being re-signed by them, but i’m unfamiliar with Hamels and PHI’s relationship.

        • Bender44 3 years ago

          Its not bad.  Couple of rocky situations in the past.  Nothing recent though.  If he’s displeased with the team or city, he’s never said anything about it. 

        • Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

          They’ve had problems in the past financially. Hamels squawked about having his contract renewed for about the league minimum a few years back.

          I still think something gets done… simply because I see them letting Victorino walk and the fact that some of the bigger contracts (Halladay, Utley, etc) will be up around year 2 or 3 of Hamels’s new contract.

    • Whowonthe2009WorldSeries 3 years ago

      Major difference is that Cliff Lee had basically dropped his plea for that type of money and was working out an extension with the Phillies when he got traded.  Doesn’t seem to be that way with Cole at all.  Dude just wants his money.  As far as wanting to play in certain spots, Lee had been traded a bunch of times and played with a bunch of teams, makes sense that he saw “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side”.  Cole doesn’t seem to be like that.  Not to mention, if Cole wants to win Philadelphia is NOT the place he should be signing, made much more sense 2 years ago for Lee to do it than it does for Cole now.

      • Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

        In the book the “Rotation” which includes actual texts from the negotiations, the Cliff Lee camp wanted something like 6 years $18-$20 million per season before he was traded. Years were non-negotiable.

        When he hit free agency, his agent contacted the Phillies and said that they wanted to work something out and would be willing to take 5.

  15. NYPOTENCE 3 years ago

    Don’t understand why so many teams are willing to part with the farm to acquire a player they can sign in the offseason. To me it seems absurd to trade the farm for a player that might decide to depart at the end of the season. A failed move like this might severely hamper an up-and coming organization.

    • Yet, someone will still do it.

      • NYPOTENCE 3 years ago

        True, still disappointing to see teams take these risks and later have there rebuilding plans foiled.

    • jwick18 3 years ago

      looking back it seemed as if teams had sold the farm but really have givin up nothing. 

  16. Doug Ro 3 years ago

    A healthy Ryan Howard could get the Phillies back in contention in a hurry.  All of the talk about the Phillies’ demise is a little premature if you ask me.  Pitching still wins it over 162 games, and Hamels, Halladay and Lee are going to win more than they lose.  You can’t say the same for other NL East teams, including the Nats, as Strasburg is on a inning-count and won’t likely be around down the stretch.  I think the Braves are the favorites right now, but if Chipper has his usual injuries, along with guys like Freeman and Heyword, you never know.  

    • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

      Ryan Howard is hardly a saviour.. I think having Lee back is far more important.

      • nm344 3 years ago

        Utley back would be the biggest difference.  Solidifying the bullpen would also go a long way.

  17. 4dracng 3 years ago

    padres? hometown deal, pitcher’s park, and DEEP farm system that the phillies could use. i can see this in a trade situation, the dodgers might pony up as a free agent, but i don’t see them giving 7 yrs.

    • NYPOTENCE 3 years ago

      Don’t know why the Padres would be interested; they still have a long road before they contend.

    • Bender44 3 years ago

      I don’t know that he considers San Diego any more of his hometown than Philly at this point.  He spends his offseasons in Philly, if I recall correctly.  And if he’s not willing to give Philly much of a discount that I can’t see why SD would get one.  

  18. jwick18 3 years ago

    if and thats a big if they fall out is there any chance the phillies tell cole that they will trade him for prospects with every intention of resigning him after the season? he still gets a shot at winning and he nets the team some prospects.

    • rainyperez 3 years ago

      Isn’t that collusion? If the league found out that was the case there could be some harsh punishment. 

      • Dylan 3 years ago

        It’s only collusion if they talk to Hamels’ agent first and they have a handshake agreement that he’ll give them first oppertunity. If the Phillies trade him and then sign him in the offseason, there is nothing wrong with that.

        • Guest 3 years ago

           idt thats what he said though…

          • Dylan 3 years ago

            Still don’t think it’s collusion if they tell him they will “try” and sign him in the offseason. I think collusion would only occur is if something is in place before the trade occurs.

          • Guest 3 years ago

            yeah i agree i don’t think that would

  19. Kind of amusing to read how the Phils need to “climb back into it.” Really? They’re 3.5 out of the wild card and 5.5 out of the division. In case anyone can’t remember, they were 7 back on July 24, 2010 and won the East. And 7 back as late as Sept. 12, 2007 and won the division.

    Phils are in the thick of it, people. Learn your history.

    • I guess that means that every time they are 7 games out you can pencil them in for a world series? Am I right?

      I think you need to learn history as being that far out and making it to the post season is usually the exception as opposed to the rule. Not to mention the fact that the past has very little to do with the present…

  20. This is true, Jay, but one can use history as a guide to what is and what isn’t reasonable. For example, on May 13, 2011, the D-Backs were 15-21, the Brewers were 16-21, the Rangers were 19-18 and the Tigers were 20-18. None of these teams were in first place, yet all won their division. Not to mention the Red Sox, who were 17-20 and 5 out. The D-backs were 5.5 out. The Brewers and Tigers were 4 out.

    Now consider the Phillies, who have a recent history year after year of strong second-half performances. A team that is getting two all-star caliber hitters back at some point. A team with all five starters with ERAs under 3.24.

    To consider all of that and still author a post claiming the Phils, at 3.5 out of the WC and 5.5 out of the division lead, are out of contention is absolutely assinine.

  21. ukJaysfan 3 years ago

    If they could do it, why wouldn’t they?  Texas has already showed that no matter how stocked you are, there is always room for improvement.  In a short series, you always want to run the best of the best out there to give the greatest chance for success.

  22. RBIBaseball 3 years ago

    They won’t get Hamels unless the give up Profar.

  23. The Rangers have a very good core of pitchers that are being paid reasonable salaries. I wouldn’t see them going after Hamels in FA, especially not trading for him being a rental. He’s not worth giving up Perez for. He’ll cost too much in FA, and I think Hamilton is more valuable anyway.

  24. stl_cards16 3 years ago

    Or a boatload of money in free agency.

  25. For a 2 month rental, and getting NO compensation picks for losing him you honestly believe any team is going to give the Phils a player of Profar’s caliber? Keep dreaming.

  26. Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

    Unreasonable. He’s Andrus’s replacement.

    I’d target Mike Olt… we need a third baseman and he’s blocked by Beltre (unless he moves to first… i don’t follow the Rangers enough to know if he has or not).

  27. imachainsaw 3 years ago

    they have plenty of other prospects they can package for hamels. their system isn’t barren and dependent on only one player. so if they go the trade route, they could easily acquire hamels without even bringing profar into the discussion.

  28. Bender44 3 years ago

     I know, but he can compromise a little.  If he wants to at least.  He’s really holding all the cards so if a 7th year is critical to him, so be it.

  29. Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

    They could just rent him for this season and take their shots at the AL Pennant with a 1/2 punch of Verlander/Hamels.

    People can wait for him in free agency all they want, if you have a shot at the 2012 playoffs and we’re out of it, adding a World Series MVP and NLCS MVP could be a difference maker.

  30. Lunchbox45 3 years ago

    after losing twice in a row in the WS, i would think the rangers are the perfect landing spot for Hamels.

    They have the farm team to overpay a bit and it not affect the future of the team.

    Feliz is on an innings limit, trade for hamels, but Feliz back in the pen. Go all in basically.

  31. I understand, but adding Hamels guarantees nothing. What happens if we trade for Hamels and he gets hurt? or we get him, but still don’t win a WS? Then you’ve killed the farm for absolutely nothing.

    I would love to have a postseason rotation of: Hamels, Lewis, Holland, and Darvish but our farm is so valuable right now, not knowing what’s going to happen w/ Hamilton and Napoli.

  32. He’s still at 3B, but they get him reps at 1B. He’s so talented on third it’s such a shame to waste it on first.

  33. RBIBaseball 3 years ago

    You realize that the Phillies have all the leverage in this situation, right?  They would be stupid not to ask for Profar. To get a front line starting pitcher at the age of 28 its going to cost you a ton.

  34. RBIBaseball 3 years ago

    They’d be crazy not to ask for Profar, The Phillies have all the leverage in this situation. To get a talent like Hamels its going to cost a ton.

  35. I don’t think the Phillies have all of the leverage. Sure, they’re offering a fantastic pitcher up, but there are some very heavy negatives also. Like I said, when you know you’re not going to get anything for him if he leaves in FA it’s not good. Considering how much Hamels wants to be paid, it would be a safe bet to assume he’ll go elsewhere after this season if traded.
    The Phillies could of course ask for Profar, but the Rangers have already said profar is not available unless it’s for the “right player”. I guarantee you the only “right players” are Kershaw or Hernandez. The right player certainly isn’t a 2-month rental.

  36. Lunchbox45 3 years ago

    I wouldn’t mortgage the future, but any one not on your current roster is hardly going to be counted on, the rangers are so deep they can deal with a void at a position.

    I wouldnt give up profar, but I don’t think you’d have to.

  37. melonis_rex 3 years ago


    And, even if Hamilton and Napoli walk, the Rangers have a good team, and still arguably the best team in the AL West.

    If the Rangers don’t keep Hamilton and/or Napoli, they have the money
    (hello massive TV deal) and/or the prospect ammo (even if they do trade
    for Hamels) to target another elite bat  and an entire
    offseason to do so. 

    Going all in makes such perfect sense for the Rangers.

  38. stl_cards16 3 years ago

    As explained in the article and multiple times in the comments. The ONLY team that CAN get draft pick compensation for Hamels if he leaves as a free agent is Philadelphia.

  39. Well, losing Hamilton and Napoli would put us behind the Angels. I mean, we all know the Halos are not this bad. I hope i’m wrong though ha.
    As for going all in, i’d rather not sell a chunk of our farm for Hamels knowing he’ll leave. I think locking up Hamilton and Napoli is much better than trading for Hamels and trying to make him an offer in the winter.

  40. His age is irrelevant. It’s that he’s in a contract year. Age is only relevant if we’re talking about a guy who is controllable for more than a season. They can ask for Profar if they want, but the conversation wouldn’t go any further than that. There isn’t a team that would be crazy enough to part with a top 10, much less a top 5, prospect to rent a player. No matter how good said player is.

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