Cole Hamels Rumors
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.
- The Nationals don't intend to trade top prospects for a starting pitcher, ESPN.com's Buster Olney tweets.
- The Tigers intend to trade for a difference-making starting pitcher, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter links). The Rays appear to be telling teams James Shields isn't available yet, Knobler adds.
- It’s possible that Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke will both remain with their current teams at the trade deadline, and if they stay put demand will increase for the next tier of available starters, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The trade value of pitchers such as Shields and Matt Garza would increase and teams undecided about their midseason plans -- the Marlins and Rays, for example -- could decide to take advantage of the market and sell.
- One rival executive said he’s “very” concerned about Greinke given his recent poor performances and potential fatigue issues. Another executive told Rosenthal that Greinke is a scary potential trade target.
- The Orioles are among the teams that have shown interest in Bartolo Colon, Rosenthal reports.
- The Tigers are still interested in acquiring a starting pitcher, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). However, they aren’t serious players in the market for Greinke.
- In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney explained that players can improve their trade value by performing well in the days and weeks leading up to the trade deadline. Paul Maholm of the Cubs is one example, and clubs have already shown an interest in him. - Mike Axisa
The chances of Cole Hamels getting traded are diminishing, but they haven't disappeared, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports. The Phillies are trying to sign the left-hander to a long-term deal, but will weigh trade offers if they can’t agree on an extension. Here are Stark’s latest rumors...
- The Rays would be looking for a combination of high-end young pitchers, a young catcher and a controllable hitter if they discuss trades involving James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson. Wade Davis is drawing as much interest as Shields, now that he’s pitching well out of the Tampa Bay bullpen, Stark reports.
- The Astros have told rival teams that they’d absorb a substantial percentage of Wandy Rodriguez’s salary in a trade if it allows them to get “the best value back.”
- The Padres aren’t shopping Edinson Volquez, but they haven’t made him untouchable.
- Teams don’t expect the Marlins will trade Josh Johnson, who’s under contract for 2013.
- Brandon McCarthy’s history of shoulder problems diminishes his trade value. “He's not going anywhere," one executive predicted to Stark.
- The Nationals haven’t been focused on finding a center fielder.
- Hunter Pence is attracting as much interest as anyone on the Phillies, including Hamels. However, the Phillies have downplayed their interest in trading the right fielder. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco and Kyle Kendrick would be available if the Phillies decide to sell this month, Stark reports. Rollins can veto any trade and would only accept deals to West Coast contenders.
- The Pirates have asked about tons of hitters, including Billy Butler, but they’re still in a “buy-low frame of mind.” The Royals have told clubs they’d have to be overwhelmed to part with Butler, Stark reports.
- The Rockies are trying to move Marco Scutaro and Jason Giambi, but they’d have to be “bowled over” to deal relievers such as Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle and Matt Reynolds.
The asking price for relief help remains high, even for players nearing free agency, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Mets, of course, are looking for relievers and they’d prefer to acquire a controllable player, according to Sherman. Here are Sherman’s latest notes, starting with the Mets:
- Acquiring a controllable reliever would provide the Mets with a long-term bullpen option but, it won’t be easy to complete a deal. “The problem is those guys are so scarce, and the cost, at least at this point, is prohibitive,” a Mets official told Sherman.
- The Rays have always liked Lucas Duda, so there’s a potential match between the Mets and Rays, Sherman writes.
- The Mets privately believe that the future of pitching prospect Jeurys Familia may be in the bullpen, so they could promote him in a relief role.
- Cole Hamels could decline an extension offer that’s expected to fall in the six-year, $130MM range, but it wouldn’t be easy to do so, one team executive told Sherman. “My sense is he is comfortable in Philly, they have made the playoffs five years in a row and the $130MM says they value him, so it is going to take a heck of a reason to say no to that.”
- If the Padres’ efforts to lock Huston Street up to an extension fail, they’ll make him available in trades later this month.
Cody Ross was a walkoff hero for the Red Sox tonight, slugging a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off White Sox closer Addison Reed to give Boston a 3-1 win in the Battle Of The Sox. Here are some links from around the majors as we wrap up a busy Thursday of trade rumors...
- The Nationals have decided on to shut down Stephen Strasburg at some point this season though it may not be at the 160-inning limit, GM Mike Rizzo tells ESPN's Pedro Gomez. "There is no magic number," Rizzo said. "It will be the eye test. (Manager) Davey (Johnson) won't decide and ownership won't decide. It will be the general manager, and that's me."
- The Rangers have "a very small list" of pitchers on their wish list and may be out of the pitching market entirely if Cole Hamels signs an extension with the Phillies, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- If Torii Hunter is really willing to take a big discount to re-sign with the Angels, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal speculates that the Halos could save money by keeping Hunter and Peter Bourjos at low costs and then non-tender or trade Kendrys Morales to free up more money to pursue pitching.
- The Cubs are unlikely to make a major free agent signing this winter, as Theo Epstein tells CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney that the team isn't far enough along in its rebuilding process. “Free agency’s definitely a nice way to add talent to an organization without giving up talent," Epstein said. "But you cannot make an organization that way. And we have a lot of steps ahead of us that we need to take care of before we’re in a position to add a finishing piece or two through free agency.”
- Beyond their big-name talent, the Cubs are also getting calls about right-handed hitting bench players Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson, reports Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link).
- The Twins led all teams in draft spending this year, as Baseball America's Jim Callis breaks down how much each club spent on their draft picks.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions.
- Dodgers president Stan Kasten hinted that his team isn't likely to splurge in a blockbuster trade deadline deal, saying any trade the Dodgers make will "have to be governed by reason" and "make sense long term," he tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told reporters (including MLB.com's Joe Frisaro) that his team is running out of time to prove they're contenders before the Fish could be forced to sell some pieces at the deadline. “In terms of decision making, I don’t how that’s going to go,” Beinfest said. “I really don’t. We need to win games here to make sure we’re on the periphery of even thinking about getting into things....You believe in your talent and hope we get hot. I think that’s where we are right now. But every day that goes by, it gets tougher and tougher to do that.”
The Phillies and the agent for Cole Hamels have recently picked up the pace of discussions regarding a possible extension for the left-hander, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports. The discussions indicate that the Phillies intend to make a major push to sign Hamels to a long-term contract before the July 31st trade deadline.
The Phillies are now willing to offer Hamels a six-year deal -- a first for any starter in Phillies history -- Stark writes. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports confirms that the Phililes are willing to offer six years. The Phillies are sending signals that they're planning to make an initial six-year offer for $130MM or so, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported yesterday. John Boggs, who represents Hamels, will weigh Philadelphia’s offers against the possibility of a lucrative multiyear contract in free agency a few months from now.
Teams that have spoken to the Phillies say the club has put trade talks involving Hamels on hold, according to Stark. Those teams say they’ve been more interested in discussing deals involving other players. However, the Phillies have prepared for the possibility of trading Hamels by scouting the prospects of rival teams.
- Heyman keeps hearing that the Blue Jays want to trade Yunel Escobar (Twitter link). The Braves, Escobar’s former team, have little depth at shortstop following injuries to Andrelton Simmons and Jack Wilson, but they’re not interested in Escobar.
- The Angels are willing to trade outfielder Peter Bourjos in some deals, Heyman reports (Twitter link). The 25-year-old has a .243/.298/.360 batting line and won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season.
- The Angels are looking at Hamels, Zack Greinke and potentially available relievers as they aim to improve their pitching staff, Heyman adds.
- Heyman keeps hearing the Marlins could trade Anibal Sanchez (Twitter link). The Braves have expressed interest in Sanchez, who’s earning $8MM in his final season before free agency, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter).
- The Dodgers are looking in a variety of places for offense, Heyman reports (on Twitter). He suggests Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Michael Cuddyer, Josh Willingham, Corey Hart and Chase Headley are all possible fits, but says Alfonso Soriano is a no-go.