With the trade deadline quickly approaching and Cole Hamels still scheduled to pitch for the Rangers on Saturday, the time to get a deal done is now, if Texas is really going to move him. Several weeks ago, interest in Hamels was at its peak. There were no less than nine teams that were kicking the tires to see what a deal might take, or at the very least having him scouted. Then Hamels struggled a little. Then he struggled a lot, and that is what has him in a position where only three teams are rumored to seriously be in the running to do a deal for the former ace.
Over his last five starts, Hamels is 1-3 with a 10.23 ERA. His 4.72 ERA and 1.37 WHIP over the season aren’t numbers that are instilling confidence in general managers. What Hamels does have going for him is his pedigree and the fact that he has big game experience. What he has going against him is this season, time, and a salary that no one wants to take on. Being owed the remainder of a $22.5 million dollar deal this season and $20 million due next year, with a $6 million club option buyout, according to MLB.com, Hamels does not fall in the category of bargain or affordable rental.
Cole Hamels has struggled in his last five starts but sources said there is still interest in him on the trade market.— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) July 25, 2018
Texas faces a challenge in which three teams are considered possible landing spots for Hamels, with the Braves a distant and very unlikely fourth option, and The Nationals paying enough lip service to stay in the press until a couple days ago, according to CBS Sports. The Phillies are a sentimental favorite, and if the Yankees and Red Sox bow out, Texas may have no choice but to do business with them. Philly isn’t expected to be able to put together the talent Texas will want, however. Boston acquired Nathan Eovaldi, meaning that Hamels is more of a luxury for them right now, even with two starters on the DL. That leaves the Yankees.
Examining the New York Yankees Potential Pitching Targets at the 2018 MLB Trade Deadline - https://t.co/Kp0tIUtubx #Yankees #NYY #MLB #TradeDeadline #ALEast #Hamels #Happ #Lynn #Harvey #DeGrom #Syndergaard #Archer #Bumgarner— Spencer Klein (@SKlein2564) July 22, 2018
New York needs a starter. Being able to slot Hamels as a fourth starter and bump Sonny Gray to fifth in the rotation works. Texas has been reported by MLB.com as being willing to eat some of the financial obligations to Hamels if they can get better talent in return. The question is going to be how much money will Texas eat, and how much of a talent upgrade are they looking for. New York has both with money under the cap and talent for days. Yankees general manager, Brian Cashman, has expressed interest in a starter but has otherwise remained tight-lipped about who that might be.
“We’re going to continue to evaluate. We’d certainly love to add to the rotation, but at the same time, we’re evaluating the available players in the marketplace. … We have some alternatives with a strong ‘pen. That’s something that we’re analyzing with the price tags that are being thrown our way on starting pitching options. It’s good that we reinforced the ‘pen, and it makes a strong fallback position for us.”
The smart money has New York offering someone in the range of an 8-10 prospect in their organization, with a pair of AA type guys rated around 20-30. For that, Texas would likely have to eat about $4-5 million of this year’s remaining salary along with half of Hamel’s buyout if the Yankees were to exercise it. This won’t be an easy deal for either side and if Hamels has another bad start Saturday, Texas may find no one has interest in him. The one saving grace Texas has is that Hamel’s contract is so big, he is likely to easily clear waivers when August rolls around if he starts looking like he can record some outs consistently.