Cole Hamels Rumors
There's little doubt that the Rangers are once again one of MLB's best teams -- if not the best. Texas entered Tuesday's action with the second-best winning percentage and best run differential in MLB. Now, they're looking to fortify their team for the stretch run and into the postseason, and they're armed with a wealth of prospects whom they could use to push through a blockbuster deal. Here's the latest:
Considering the Rangers' recent history in the World Series, and the fact that they're facing the very real possibility of Josh Hamilton departing as a free agent in the offseason, one AL personnel exec said he'd be shocked if Texas didn't make a move for a top-of-the-rotation starter such as Cole Hamels or Josh Johnson, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter links). We already heard earlier today that the Rangers would be willing to acquire Hamels without the added complication of working out a contract extension.
Similarly, the Rangers are focused on acquiring a starting pitcher, such as Hamels or Zack Greinke, who can be a "difference-maker" for them once they reach the postseason, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Texas won't let the prospect of losing the draft pick attached to an outgoing free agent thwart their plans to acquire such a starter, adds Sullivan. In other words, it sounds like they're fine with acquiring a rental type. One alternative, though, would be "fortifying the bullpen" and deploying Alexi Ogando as a starter.
In addition to Hamels, Greinke and Johnson, the Rangers are also "in the mix" for Rays right-hander James Shields, and they would also be interested in reacquiring Phillies lefty Cliff Lee if he's made available, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com (Twitter links). The latter scenario, however, appears unlikely, Rosenthal adds.
We can't say for sure how things will shake out, but the Rangers certainly look like as strong a candidate as anyone to make a splash for one of the premium pitchers on the trade market before the deadline.
Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, an impending free agent, headlines a strong group of starting pitchers who could be traded before next week's deadline. But while Hamels may be dealt, there's also a chance he could re-sign with the Phils, the only team for which he's played. Here's the latest:
- The Phillies at least floated the idea of a six-year, $140MM extension to Cole Hamels, a rival MLB official told Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link). Hamels hasn't said 'yes,' which increases the likelihood of a trade, as Sherman points out. The Phillies offered Hamels six years and about $135MM, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter). The left-hander is still trying to decide whether to accept the offer or hit free agency.
- The Rangers won't insist upon negotiating a contract extension with Hamels should they get deep into trade discussions with the Phillies, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- There has been some progress between the sides, which has prompted optimism within the Phillies that a deal can get done, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. But obstacles remain to hammering out a deal.
- The Phils and Hamels are working to bring discussions to a head so that they can proceed accordingly, a source tells Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
7:22am: The sides are expected to announce an agreement Wednesday, Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The Phillies have had a six-year offer worth $135MM-plus on the table since the weekend, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter).
12:25am: The Phillies and Cole Hamels are close to completing a six-year contract extension worth more than $137.5MM according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. It will be the second largest contract ever given to a pitcher behind C.C. Sabathia's seven-year, $161MM pact with the Yankees.
This post was first published on Wednesday, July 25th.
The Marlins aren’t thinking about firing manager Ozzie Guillen, but are expected to continue discussing potential trades in the week leading up to the MLB trade deadline, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The 45-51 Marlins sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit yesterday, signaling that they don’t expect to contend in 2012. Here are more of Rosenthal’s notes...
- Hanley Ramirez could be the next player traded, Rosenthal reports. The Marlins tried to send the third baseman to Boston last week and they’re still open to moving him.
- The Marlins figure to shop Heath Bell aggressively, even though he’s just four months into a three-year contract.
- Teams covet Josh Johnson, who’s under contract for 2013.
- Ichiro Suzuki is “a lot better than you think” once you take defense and baserunning into consideration, one executive tells Rosenthal. The Yankees acquired the veteran outfielder from Seattle yesterday.
- The Rangers would love to obtain a top-of-the-rotation starter, but they believe they could address their rotation issues internally if necessary. Cole Hamels will be atop the Rangers’ list of potential targets if the Phillies don’t re-sign him.
- The Phillies are indicating to other teams that they’re eager to move Hunter Pence. The right fielder will remain under team control through 2013, when he’s expected to obtain a raise and earn $13-14MM.
- Rosenthal mentioned this yesterday, but it’s worth repeating: the Nationals are among the teams interested in Zack Greinke.
Extension talks between Cole Hamels and the Phillies will accelerate this week, but the left-hander is “conflicted” about his next step, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported this morning. The Phillies will almost certainly trade Hamels if he doesn’t accept their extension offer, Rosenthal noted. Here are the latest rumors surrounding Hamels with eight days to go before the trade deadline...
- The Phillies are still "actively trying" to sign Hamels, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. One "plugged-in" source told Salisbury that he thinks an extension will be reached.
- The negotiations are reaching a “sensitive” stage, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Phillies, who have offered Hamels a six-year deal in the $127.5MM range, must save themselves a window to discuss trades in case they can’t agree to terms with Hamels on an extension.
- The Cardinals could be a suitor for Hamels if he reaches free agency, Crasnick writes. Hamels' wife is from Missouri.
Talks between Cole Hamels and the Phillies will accelerate this week, as the sides consider the possibility of a mid-season extension, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Hamels must decide whether to accept an offer from the Phillies with the trade deadline looming and free agency just a couple of months away. The left-hander is “conflicted” about how to proceed, Rosenthal writes. The Phillies will almost certainly trade Hamels if they don’t sign him to a long-term deal, Rosenthal reports. Here are more notes from around MLB...
- The Giants’ biggest offensive need might be a right-handed hitting outfielder.
- A rival executive notes that the Nationals have relied heavily on their bullpen and suggests it’d make sense for Washington to add a starting pitcher this summer.
- The Twins would want a major return if they trade Josh Willingham, who has a reasonable three-year, $21MM contract.
- Some teams like Asher Wojciechowski, a right-handed pitching prospect acquired by the Astros from Toronto in last week’s ten-player deal. Overall the trade wasn’t considered a blockbuster, however.
- Brewers relievers Manny Parra and Kameron Loe are drawing interest.
- The Phillies might need to include cash if they trade Shane Victorino. Including salary relief could help the team obtain better prospects for the prospective free agent.
The addition of a player such as Zack Greinke or Matt Garza may mean the difference of making the playoffs or spending October on the golf course for a team like the Braves. With the non-waiver trade deadline looming, teams will be forced to consider the value of trading for a front-of-the-rotation starter and how that particular move may impact the remainder of the season.
The question becomes which available starting pitcher will contribute the most down the stretch to help a team reach its goals for the season. Will Ryan Dempster prove to be the second coming of C.C. Sabathia during his stint with the Brewers? Or will Cole Hamels flame out like Ubaldo Jimenez after he arrived in Cleveland last July?
Numerous teams remain unsure of how they will approach the non-waiver trade deadline as their performance over the next few days should separate the buyers from the sellers, writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. For the Rays, a strong week may mean the difference between trading and retaining James Shields. Here are more of Knobler's notes, starting with Zack Greinke:
- With the Brewers falling out of the NL playoff picture and Greinke stating his desire to test free agency, Milwaukee will attempt to put rumors to bed about the right-hander's health when he takes the mound on Tuesday. Greinke missed a start last week after expressing concern about how he felt in the wake of starting three consecutive games.
- Beyond Greinke, the Brewers may elect to move other pieces including Francisco Rodriguez, Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart, among others.
- While Cole Hamels has been presented with a series of strong offers from the Phillies, the star left-hander remains uncertain about agreeing to an extension prior to the deadline, thus keeping a potential trade to another team in play.
- Similar to the Brewers, the Phillies have a host of players drawing attention from a variety of teams but remain reluctant to alienate the fanbase by trading away names like Cliff Lee or Jimmy Rollins.
The Phillies and Cole Hamels are said to be "moving in the right direction'' in their contract discussions, people familiar with the talks told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The club's willingness to go to six years was apparently a turning point in the negotiations.
The Phillies were said to start at $127.5MM over six years but are expected to go from there. A report on Wednesday said that the club has been sending signals that they're willing to go to $130MM for the left-hander.
- Three teams say they've backed off on Cole Hamels because they believe the Phillies will get him signed. The Phillies are willing to offer Hamels a six-year extension in the $130MM range.
- The Dodgers don't expect to acquire Padres third baseman Chase Headley. Buster Olney reported this week that the Padres' asking price on Headley is remarkably high. The third baseman will be under team control as an arbitration eligible player through 2014.
- One general manager doesn't expect a Zack Wheeler-caliber prospect to be traded this summer. To weigh in on the possibility of trading prospects for established stars, check out today’s MLBTR’s poll.