Cole Hamels Rumors Update
By Billy Brost
It appears that a fourth team is now in the hunt for San Diego native and current Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels. Per a report from Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, the Texas Rangers are now looking to add the lefty, along with the San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, and Boston Red Sox. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro is still looking to fleece anyone who dares to ask about the lefty’s availability, and for the Padres, it could mean unloading the final handful of prospects remaining in their farm system, along with a big league-ready arm.
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Here’s the thing. Amaro isn’t just looking for a trade partner for Hamels. He’s also seeking a taker for first baseman Ryan Howard, and as previously discussed here at Friars, even a down-trending Howard offensively, is an upgrade over mainstay Yonder Alonso. The Phillies aren’t aggressively looking to unload Hamels, who is owed a $96 million and is signed through 2018.
It would take something huge for Amaro to finally part with his ace. From the Padres’ standpoint, a package including the likes of Ian Kennedy (big league-level arm) along with Matt Wisler, Hunter Renfroe and perhaps even top catching prospect Austin Hedges would be what it takes. There remains rumors that Philly has asked for newly-acquired outfielder Wil Myers in a deal for Hamels.
The Phillies have started their rebuild, already having dealt Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd, and Antonio Bastardo. Amaro ideally, would like to also unload Chase Utley along with Howard, but Utley has 10-and-5 rights, making any deal tough to put together. Amaro has stated in the past that any deal involving Hamels, would have to bring back a top catching prospect, and there’s where Hedges would likely headline any deal with San Diego. With the recent acquisition of Derek Norris, A.J. Preller may view Hedges as the chip and focal point of bringing Hamels home.
The Rangers, the newest team to enter the fold, have top prospects Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara, but it would take more for Amaro to part with Hamels. They also have a solid catching prospect in Jorge Alfaro. Hamels has stated that his preference is to be dealt to a contender, which the Padres clearly are now with their greatest winter in team history. While he is from San Diego, his wife hails from St. Louis, which makes the Cards a desirable destination as well due to their year-in and year-out ability to remain competitive in the NL pennant chase.