Cole Hamels has a 20-team no-trade clause in his contract, though the veteran southpaw described his no-trade protection as “just kind of a formality” during a wide-ranging chat with NJ Advance Media’s Randy Miller. Hamels can block deals to every team except the Braves, Mariners, Phillies, Nationals, Rays, Cardinals, Cubs, Royals, and Astros, though it doesn’t sound like he would have any specific objection to being dealt to a contender. “Really, it’s just kind of like heads up….It just kind of provides a little bit more information, a little bit more bargaining power,” Hamels said. “That’s kind of really what that entails. But at the end of the day, situations kind of come up and I think everybody understands what can transpire.”
With the Rangers struggling and Hamels in his final year under contract, the former World Series MVP has often been cited as a potential deadline trade chip. Some players in Hamels’ position have used their no-trade clause to garner some extra money and/or future security, though it doesn’t seem like Hamels would be particularly inclined to insist that a new team (for example) automatically pick up the $20MM club option on his services for 2019. It’s worth noting that several of Hamels’ nine non-protected teams are contenders, so Texas might not necessarily have to worry about the no-trade clause at all to potentially deal the left-hander. Miller’s full piece is well worth a read, as Hamels discusses several topics about his past and future in baseball.
Some more from the AL West…
- An MRI revealed some damage to Blake Wood’s ulnar collateral ligament, the Angels told MLB.com’s Maria Guardado and other reporters today. Wood will receive a second opinion before deciding on his next course of action. The extent of the damage isn’t known, though the worst-case scenario would be that Wood undergoes Tommy John surgery and is thus sidelined through at least half of the 2019 season. Wood has been on the DL for the last month due to an elbow impingement, and had posted a 2.31 ERA, 7.7 K/9, and 1.43 K/BB rate over 11 2/3 IP out of the Los Angeles bullpen this season. Wood is a free agent this winter, and would be facing some type of incentive-heavy, minor league deal at best if he does face a Tommy John absence.
- The Angels’ balancing act of using Shohei Ohtani as a two-way player has been “perfect” based on Ohtani’s projected and assumed values as a pitcher and as a hitter, according to ESPN.com’s Sam Miller. “The miracle isn’t just that we get to see a player who is as good at hitting and as good at pitching as Ohtani is. It’s that we get to see one who is precisely this good at each so that this usage makes sense,” Miller writes.
- As part of a reader mailbag piece, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart writes that he would “be surprised” if Brian McCann is with the Astros in 2019. McCann is in the final guarantee year of his contract and the Astros hold a $15MM club option on him for next season. This option vests into a player option should McCann has 601 PA and at least 90 starts at catcher this season, and doesn’t end the year on the disabled list, though obviously Houston could manage McCann’s workload to ensure he doesn’t hit the vesting threshold. The hot-hitting Max Stassi has already cut into McCann’s playing time, though McTaggart isn’t sure that Stassi (a longtime prospect) would necessarily be the starting catcher going forward if the Astros parted ways with McCann. It’s worth noting that the Astros were linked to J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors last winter, and the team has the minor league trade chips to manage such a big acquisition. McCann, 34, has above-average run creation numbers (111 wRC+) via his .248/.347/.396 slash line in 118 PA this season, though his production over the last five years has generally been closer to league-average.
- The Athletics’ pick of Matt Chapman with the 25th overall selection of the 2014 draft came about due to something of a “reverse Moneyball” situation, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes (subscription required). Chapman had only modest hitting numbers in college ball but his skillset was heavily praised by A’s scouts; unlike the events of the film and Michael Lewis’ book, Billy Beane and company decided to go against the statistics to choose Chapman, as a private workout for the team prior to the draft helped answer the front office’s concerns. The pick looks like a great one for the A’s, as Chapman has broken out into one of the game’s most promising young stars.