Padres News: Why Ruben Amaro Told The Padres No On Cole Hamels


By now, we are all very well aware of the desire of San Diego Padres‘ GM A.J. Preller to acquire Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels. We’ve heard all of the mixes and matches, but recently, Jeff Sullivan and our friends over at, went into some pretty good detail as to why Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro continues to say no to the Padres’ overtures. It’s not that Amaro is asking for the world, but with one silver bullet in his gun, he better be right when he finally agrees to pull the trigger.

Regardless of whether or not Cole Hamels doesn’t want to pitch in Philly anymore, and cried to Bob Nightengale of USA Today in a feeble attempt to force a deal sooner rather than later, it’s Amaro’s call. And as Preller continued to call, and make offers, two things became vastly apparent: either Amaro is holding out until Preller throws in someone along the likes of Andrew Cashner or Wil Myers, or he wants Preller and the Padres to empty the farm of their final three prospects: Matt Wisler, Hunter Renfroe, and Austin Hedges

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What we do know is this: the last offer A.J. Preller made to the Phillies, included Renfroe and Hedges. As Sullivan points out however, we don’t know the entire story. We don’t know if anyone else of any consequence was offered, or if any money was to exchange hands given that Hamels is one of the better-paid starters in the big leagues. Sullivan also points out the deal is more valuable for the Padres than say, the Boston Red Sox. Why? The Padres, unlike the Sox, aren’t on Hamels’ no-trade list, meaning the Pads would be under no obligation to pick up Hamels’ fifth-year option the the end of his deal, where if Boston and Philly came to an agreement, Hamels’ could force Boston to pick up the extra deal to complete the deal.

But where I agree with Sullivan, and it’s not a popular opinion, is that Renfroe and Hedges are limited in their abilities to become excellent major leaguers. I’ve said so on record. In writing, and on our podcast, the Friars On Base Show with Devin Sparks. Personally, after watching Austin Hedges, he’s going to make some club an excellent big league back up catcher someday. The kid simply can’t hit. He hasn’t so far in the minors, and he won’t at the big league level, yet he remains a top-six catching prospect according the MLB Pipeline site. All glove, no hit. It’s going to take more than that to acquire a Cole Hamels. Hedges alone, might not even be enough to acquire the 2015 version of C.C. Sabathia. Defensive-minded catchers are a dime a dozen, and pitch framing, as Sullivan also points out, isn’t quite the desired aspect of one’s game that say, raw power is.

The raw power of Hunter Renfroe is the stuff of legend. From his showcase home run derby display in this last Fall’s Arizona Fall League, to some of the bombs he has hit throughout his minor league career. Like Hedges, I’ve watched plenty of tape on Renfroe. To me, his swing is a tad long, and I could see him going into extended slumps at the big league level. Is he ready for the Show? Damn near. Is he a franchise outfielder that you pair with a defensive-minded catcher to part with your ace? No in this lifetime. There’s no doubt in my mind that Hunter Renfroe will run many, many big league pitching mistakes before it’s all said and done. However, if you’re Ruben Amaro, and the deal has to be perfect, or risk being crucified not only by your hometown fan base, but also by an ownership group that is growing impatient with a rebuilding process that is just now getting underway, you can’t blame Amaro for continuing to hold his cards.

Amaro does indeed hold all of the cards. Perhaps a team with a loaded farm system will suffer a drastic pitching injury. Perhaps a team in July, knowing that Cole Hamels is the only missing piece between them and a possible World Series title, will give in, overpay, empty the farm system AND provide some solid big league talent in return. Either way, if the Padres are dead serious about continuing their pursuit of Hamels, even with the signing of James Shields, A.J. Preller is going to have to up the ante if his goal is to acquire Hamels, come hell or high water.

Next: Can We Move On From Cole Hamels Already?

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