Cole Hamels Rumors
- 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.
WEDNESDAY: The Phillies are sending signals that they're planning to make an initial offer for about $130MM over six years, Heyman reports. They appear to have had some conversations with Hamels in recent days.
MONDAY: It appears that the Phillies are planning to offer Cole Hamels a contract extension worth at least $120MM, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Though the Phillies hope to keep Hamels, people within the organization aren’t optimistic their forthcoming offer will convince the left-hander to sign a deal just a few months away from free agency.
Philadelphia left-hander Cliff Lee is in the second year of a five-year, $120MM contract that will likely come up in contract talks between the Phillies and agent John Boggs. Some rival officials have suggested the Phillies might have to match Johan Santana’s six-year, $137.5MM contract to lock Hamels up, however. Meanwhile, MLB agents have suggested that Hamels could earn upwards of $150MM as a free agent.
The Phillies are said to be planning to offer Cole Hamels a contract extension worth at least $120MM, but it’s not stopping them from evaluating trade possibilities in case the sides don’t reach a deal. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Phillies are “operating on two planes” with Hamels. They’re involved in serious negotiations about a long-term deal at the same time that they’re positioning themselves to trade Hamels and Shane Victorino quickly if necessary. Here are the rest of Sherman’s notes on the trade market:
- The Dodgers loom as a team that figures to bid aggressively on Hamels should the left-hander hit free agency this coming offseason. One official connected to the Phillies said they realize “their best number has to come now.”
- The Angels and Rangers are arguably the two most motivated buyers of the summer, and both are potential fits for Hamels. One scout suggested the Angels could obtain Hamels for Peter Bourjos and prospects Jean Segura and John Hellweg, but other executives say they’d be shocked if the Phillies get that much for Hamels given the new rules regulating draft pick compensation.
- The Cubs want to move Ryan Dempster in the relatively near future and turn their focus to trade talks involving Matt Garza, Sherman writes. The Dodgers are currently viewed as the favorites for Dempster, the Tigers are seen as “strong pursuers” and the Red Sox appear to be long shots.
The Braves are looking at possible bullpen upgrades in addition to starting pitching options, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Here are more news items from Morosi with precisely two weeks to go before this year’s trade deadline...
- The Tigers would like to add a left-handed starter, but are wary of taking on all of Wandy Rodriguez’s contract, Morosi reports (on Twitter). Rodriguez earns $10MM this year and $13MM next year. His contract includes a $13MM option for 2014 that becomes a player option if the Astros trade Rodriguez.
- Jason Vargas is a similar pitcher to Rodriguez on a more affordable contract who could appeal to the Tigers, in my opinion. Alternatively, Houston could absorb salary to facilitate a trade.
- The Cardinals continue to monitor the market for starters and relievers, Morosi and Ken Rosenthal write. The Mariners recently scouted Cardinals pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins, but it’s not known if the teams are actively discussing a trade for Vargas or anyone else.
- Morosi gets the sense that Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke will stay put in Milwaukee this year (video link).
- Morosi explains that he believes Cole Hamels is a better fit for the Rangers than the Angels (video link).
It’s time to consider the Angels and Rangers superpowers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Lucrative regional TV deals, an abundance of star talent and the flexibility to make further moves have turned the Angels and Rangers into imposing organizations. Both clubs have both scouted Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels, but the Rangers view those pitchers as rentals and are hesitant to part with top prospects for either one. Here are more of Rosenthal’s latest notes:
- The Brewers haven’t given up on the 2012 season, but they’ve talked about exploiting the Angels-Rangers rivalry, Rosenthal writes. Many executives believe the return for a pitcher like Greinke or Hamels will be surprisingly low because the new collective bargaining agreement prevents teams from obtaining compensation for players acquired midseason.
- Ryan Dempster, who can veto any trade, has said he would consider going to any contender. The Cubs want to assume the majority of the $6.1MM remaining on Dempster’s salary to obtain better prospects in return. Rosenthal suggests interested teams might look to extend Dempster this summer and keep him off of the free agent market.
- The Cubs wanted a Gio Gonzalez-like return for Matt Garza last offseason, Rosenthal reports.
- Rosenthal suggests the Phillies could trade Jimmy Rollins, but points out that the shortstop earns $11MM per season through 2014. “That contract, boy oh boy,” one executive said, suggesting it could deter interested teams.
- Baseball people express doubt about the star potential of Pirates outfield prospect Starling Marte, Rosenthal reports.
- The Rockies are pleased that Ramon Hernandez has helped Wilin Rosario develop and don't seem overly earger to trade the veteran Hernandez.
- The Tigers are scouting Marco Scutaro and they aren’t the only team with interest in the veteran infielder. The Brewers inquired on Scutaro, but talks didn’t progress.
The Yankees will stay informed about Cole Hamels’ availability between now and the July 31st trade deadline, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. But even if the left-hander's possible extension doesn't materialize and the Phillies decide to weigh trade offers, Yankees GM Brian Cashman probably won’t pursue Hamels as aggressively as he went after Cliff Lee two years ago.
Under baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement, it’d be impossible for the Yankees to obtain draft pick compensation for Hamels if he were to depart as a free agent when his contract expires following the 2012 season. And signing Hamels long-term doesn’t seem realistic for a Yankees team that aims to avoid luxury tax penalties by 2014. Not only would Hamels command an annual salary of $20MM plus, the Yankees would have to surrender inexperienced (and affordable) players to pry the left-hander away from the Phillies.
The Yankees aren’t interested in Zack Greinke and don’t believe his personality would thrive in New York, Davidoff notes. Like Hamels, Greinke could sign an extension before the trade deadline. Cubs right-handers Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza are among the other possibilities for the Yankees. However, Cashman has said he’s skeptical about the chances of finding a deal that makes sense.
The Angels, Dodgers, Rangers, Pirates, Tigers, Marlins, and Giants were reportedly among the teams with scouts in attendance for Cole Hamels' start against the Rockies this afternoon, though keep in mind that a scouting presence does not always imply trade interest in a particular player. The lefty didn't disappoint, dealing eight innings of one-run ball at Coors Field. The Rangers sent Don Welke, the senior special assistant to GM Jon Daniels, to Denver and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports Texas wants Hamels bad. Here are the latest rumors on the prized left-hander with the latest up top:
- Hamels doesn't seem concerned about his uncertain future, telling reporters after his victory, "That's the least of my worries."
- The Phillies' forthcoming offer to Hamels is "expected to be in the ballpark that they know the left-hander will want, this close to free agency," tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. I'm guessing Hamels would have his eye on a contract worth $23-25MM annually over six-plus years, if he reaches free agency. - Tim Dierkes
- The Phillies are still "trying like heck" to sign Hamels, reports Salisbury.
- The Dodgers and Phillies have had discussions about Hamels, but the Phillies aren't thrilled with the players they would receive in return, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. The Dodgers could become more aggressive in their pursuit with news that Chad Billingsley is suffering from elbow issues.
- The Phillies have a scout attending the Angels-Yankees game fueling speculation the Halos could be in on Hamels, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Heyman lists 10 teams that could be interested in Hamels, as well as the Brewers' Zack Greinke.
- In the same piece, Heyman quotes one official who says there's a 30% chance the Phillies sign Hamels to a long-term extension.
- Outside executives believe the Phillies will work feverishly to extend Hamels rather than trade him, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman provides three reasons for such a theory, including that it's harder than ever to land a commensurate package for a star in his walk year given the rule changes in the new collective bargaining agreement.
The Phillies are reportedly preparing a large extension offer for 28-year-old southpaw Cole Hamels, who shut down the Rockies today at Coors Field in a well-scouted game. We've heard Hamels expects to be paid as an elite pitcher, so his next contract is surely headed north of $100MM. In recent months Matt Cain and C.C. Sabathia both chose extensions over the open market, signing five-year contracts worth $112.5MM and $122MM in new money, respectively.
The Cain and Sabathia contracts include reasonable sixth-year vesting options, but that fully guaranteed sixth year is probably what both pitchers sacrificed by signing prior to full-blown free agency bidding wars. The Phillies already have one starting pitcher megadeal on the books, having created the template by signing Cliff Lee for five years and $120MM plus a vesting option in December 2010. A year and a half later, a Lee/Cain/Sabathia-type contract would be a reasonable offer from the Phillies for Hamels, but he may want more. The clock is ticking, because if they can't extend Hamels, the Phillies' best path is probably to trade Hamels for a nice bounty this month. How do you see it playing out?
Colorado is the epicenter of scouting activity this afternoon as Cole Hamels starts against the Rockies. The Angels, Dodgers, and Rangers are scouting the Phillie left-hander, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (Twitter links). The Tigers are on hand taking a look at Marco Scutaro, tweets Tracy Ringolsby of Root Sports. Here's the rest of the news from the AL and NL West with the most recent up top:
- The Dodgers remain high on the Cubs' Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza and also have expressed interest in the Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies and Josh Willingham of the Twins, writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- The Angels keep telling teams Peter Bourjos is not available, tweets Knobler.
- The A's don't appear to be a fit with the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton, unless it's part of a multi-team deal, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- In the same piece, Slusser writes, if the A's do make a trade, Bartolo Colon will be the first player dealt because he can net a decent prospect or two and the team has in-house replacement options.
- The A's will be buyers and sellers because they can move veteran starting pitching to fill other needs, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- If the Diamondbacks do become sellers, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports tweets there will be interest in utilityman Willie Bloomquist because he can play short. The question is whether GM Kevin Towers will make him available.
- Earlier today, we learned the Dodgers may no longer be the favorite to land the Cubs' Ryan Dempster. There could a renewed sense of urgency as Chad Billingsley was scratched from his scheduled start today because of elbow pain. Billingsley will have a MRI, tweets MLB.com's Ken Gurnick, who adds manager Don Mattingly is unhappy the right-hander didn't disclose the injury earlier.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria may soon be faced with the question about selling at the deadline, something he wanted to avoid in the first year of the club's new ballpark. The best thing they could do to improve their farm system likely involves trading guys like Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, and the newly acquired Carlos Lee.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams always thinks big and it would not be surprising to see him get in on pitcher such as Zack Greinke. The problem is that his farm system doesn't have much to offer and they don't want to give up pieces off the big league roster while contending.
- The best guess right now has the Padres keeping Carlos Quentin and trading Chase Headley. Rosenthal says it's simple supply-and-demand; as many as ten teams have shown interest in the third baseman Headley. The team isn't sure they can get more for Quentin in a trade than they would by letting him walk as a free agent and recouping draft picks after the season.
- The Orioles are clearly buyers. They're willing to trade any prospect not named Dylan Bundy or Manny Machado, but they probably don't have enough to get Greinke. They do have interest in lesser arms like Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas, as well as leadoff man Juan Pierre.
- The Brewers could pit the Rangers and Angels against each other in the Greinke sweepstakes. Texas is unwilling to trade Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar, or Martin Perez for a rental, which could create an opening for the Halos if they're willing to deal Major League talent.
- The Phillies do not intend to trade Cliff Lee to create payroll room for Cole Hamels. If they do keep Hamels long-term, they could have $140MM tied up in just eight players going into next season.