The Yankees will get a first-hand look at Cole Hamels later today when the Phillies’ ace takes the hill for the series finale between the two clubs at Yankee Stadium, and Newsday’s David Lennon writes that they’ll be paying close attention to his performance, as the Yankees haven’t ruled out a pursuit of Hamels on the trade market.
The cost to acquire Hamels, both financially and prospect-wise, would be significant, but Lennon hears that such obstacles don’t necessarily preclude interest on the Yankees’ behalf. The Yankees have a full rotation at the moment, with Ivan Nova coming off the disabled list to join Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi and Adam Warren. Of course, there are persistent injury concerns with both Tanaka and Pineda, and the team will likely want to monitor the workloads of both Nova (one year removed from Tommy John) and Warren, who has thrown a combined 155 2/3 innings over the past two seasons.
Obviously, this report is preliminary in nature, so it’s best not to get too carried away with speculation, but one would imagine that the Phillies would express interest in the list of usual suspects that sit atop the Yankees’ prospect rankings. Right-hander Luis Severino, right fielder Aaron Judge, first baseman Greg Bird and shortstop Jorge Mateo are among the most highly regarded Yankees prospects. Further lending some insight into the possibilities, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote this morning that the Phillies’ preference seems to be to add offensive prospects, preferably ones that are reasonably close to the Majors.
Hamels is guaranteed $86.2MM through the guaranteed portion of his contract, which ends in the 2018 season. He’ll have $12.66MM remaining on this year’s $22.5MM salary following tonight’s start, plus $22.5MM annually from 2016-18. He has a club/vesting option for the 2019 season that is valued at $20MM and comes with a $6MM buyout. While there’s been speculation that Hamels would want that option guaranteed to approve a deal to a club on his no-trade list, that’s not an issue for the Yankees, because they are one of two American League clubs that are not on Hamels’ no-trade list. (The Rangers, who have also been connected to Hamels in the past 24 hours, are also pre-approved by the left-hander.)
The Yankees’ interest in Hamels dates back to the offseason, where one report even indicated that they’d come the closest to acquiring Hamels. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that talks between New York and Philadelphia reached advanced stages. It doesn’t appear that the Phillies came all that close to trading Hamels in general this past winter. But, by waiting until July, Amaro may have upped his leverage, as his ace figures to be far more coveted over the next five weeks than he was at the tail end of the offseason.