Cole Hamels Rumors
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.
The Phillies plan to offer Cole Hamels a large contract extension in order to see if they can lock the southpaw up before the July 31 trade deadline, reports ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. The size of the proposal is unknown, though a source tells Stark that the Phillies have debated about whether or not to break their unofficial club policy of not signing a pitcher to more than five guaranteed years.
We recently heard that the Phillies were willing to go beyond four years to sign Hamels, though if the Phils aren't willing to go beyond five years, Hamels could easily get a minimum six-year deal on the open market this winter. If it's just length and not money (an estimated $24-25MM per season) that's the issue, the gap could possibly be closed by a vesting option.
This could explain why the Phillies are internally optimistic that they can re-sign Hamels, Stark hears from two executives from opposing teams.
"They're trying to sign him," said one of those executives. "And they think it's going to happen. At least that's what I was told."
If Hamels turns down the offer, then the Phillies could explore trading the southpaw before the trade deadline, though Stark notes that the Phillies intend to wait as long as possible to decide if they'll be sellers given that Chase Utley, Ryan Howard are off the DL and Roy Halladay will also soon return.
Lines of communication between the Phillies and the agent for Cole Hamels are open and the negotiations are reaching a critical stage, Jim Salisbury at CSNPhilly.com reports. Hamels, a free agent after the 2012 season, is expected to become a trade chip if the Phillies don’t sign him long-term.
Not much has changed since Spring Training, Salisbury reports. The Phillies appear to be comfortable paying Hamels close to $24MM per season (the same range as Cliff Lee), but the sides haven’t agreed on the length of the potential extension. Initially the Phillies wanted to complete a four-year deal, but it’s likely the team is now willing to offer more years. However, John Boggs, the agent for Hamels, could target a six or seven-year contract.
Rival executives are divided on what the Tigers need to acquire for the second half of the season, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Some say the Tigers need a pitcher, others say they should acquire a second baseman and others believe they don’t need to make a major addition. Here are more of Knobler’s notes, starting with the Tigers:
- Detroit has shown some interest in Matt Garza, but Tigers people suggest a deal is fairly unlikely, according to Knobler. The Tigers don’t seem enthused about the possibility of trading for Marco Scutaro, though they’ve shown some interest in him.
- The Phillies have identified about four teams that would be a fit for Cole Hamels and they’re saying they'd want players who are close to contributing in the Major Leagues. However, the Phillies aren’t ready to deal the left-hander yet.
- Scouts believe the Diamondbacks are serious about listening to offers for Justin Upton.
- The Royals had been considering the possibility of becoming midseason buyers this year. They don’t intend to give Jonathan Broxton or other players away because they “badly want” to win games in the second half, Knobler writes.
- The 43-43 Athletics see themselves as sellers, rather than contenders, Knobler reports. A’s people are hoping Brandon McCarthy pitches well and increases his trade value when he returns from the disabled list.
- Scouts are unimpressed by Cubs pitching prospect Gerardo Concepcion, Knobler notes.
The Diamondbacks are willing to trade Justin Upton even if they’re in contention, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Arizona GM Kevin Towers won’t make a deal unless he’s “dazzled”, Rosenthal reports. Here are Rosenthal’s latest rumors, starting with Upton:
- The Diamondbacks could pursue Major Leaguers instead of prospects for Upton if they remain in contention for a postseason berth. Upton raises some questions with his effort level and body language, according to Rosenthal, but the outfielder appears to have drawn “huge” interest from teams such as the Pirates nonetheless.
- The Rangers prefer Cole Hamels to Zack Greinke, though they continue scouting Greinke.
- Francisco Liriano has a 2.74 ERA in eight starts since returning to the Twins’ rotation, but clubs are “wary” of trading for the left-hander, Rosenthal reports. It’s doubtful that teams would part with significant prospects for Liriano, who’s thought of as a bullpen option by some teams. Matt Capps will also be available once he returns from the disabled list, according to Rosenthal.
- The Tigers are prioritizing offense over starting pitching, according to an executive that has spoken to the team. The Tigers need second base help and could also explore trades for corner outfielders, starting pitchers and relievers.
The Phillies concluded the first half of the season by dropping an afternoon game against the Braves by the score of 4-3. The setback marked Philadelphia's 50th loss of the season as the team currently sits in last place in the National League East with a record of 37-50. The 2011 Phillies did not lose their 50th game until September 12 as the squad went on to win 102 games in route to the division title. Let's check in on the latest news and headlines from Citizens Bank Park with the All-Star break nearly upon us...
- Cole Hamels spoke with CSNPhilly.com's Leslie Gudel about his current status with the Phillies and his future beyond this season as the trade deadline quickly approaches. Hamels said while he would be happy to sign a long-term deal with the Phillies, he's curious to explore free agency and potentially end up with a team on the West Coast like the Dodgers.
- Look for Hamels to land with the Rangers if the Phillies end up dealing the left-hander, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Olney spoke with baseball officials on Sunday who deemed Texas as the prohibitive favorites in the Hamels arms race.
- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel isn't concerned about his job security given his self-proclaimed belief that he is a winner, writes Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. "How concerned am I? I’ve got a lot of confidence in myself," said Manuel. "And I am a fighter. And not only that, I think I’m a winner."
The Phillies once believed that they could contend this year, but the confidence of the five-time defending NL East winners seems to have dwindled, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com writes. Now Phillies people say things like "you don't know if a team is just going to blow you out of the water" for a player of Cole Hamels’ caliber. Here’s the latest on Hamels, who would arguably be the top available pitcher if the Phillies put him on the market:
- People who know Hamels believe him when he says he likes Philadelphia, Knobler reports. "I've had no indication that he doesn't want to be here," GM Ruben Amaro told Knobler. Hamels’ contract expires after the season and he'd presumably command a contract of at least five years for $20MM-plus per season on the open market.
- The Phillies won't trade Hamels before trying to sign him to a long-term deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. They have discussed Hamels with other teams but would prefer to keep him. "Since we are built on pitching, and have had success with it, having those three guys are essential, if possible,'' Amaro said in reference to Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.
- The Rangers watched Hamels’ start last night, Knobler adds.