At This Point, You Have to Trade Hamels

Posted by Corey Seidman, Wed, July 04, 2012 07:00 AM | Comments: 23
Rumors, Trades, Transactions

The Phillies have three options with Cole Hamels, none of which is clear cut. It’s a great year to have a trade asset like Hamels — the added wild card teams in each league will make more teams buyers — but the Phillies are in a unique position.

The Phils were nine games under .500 entering play Tuesday at Citi Field. It was their worst record through 81 games since 1997 and, at 36-45, the most games they’ve been under .500 since the summer of 2006.

As poorly as they’ve played, the Phillies have also been plagued by bad luck (low BABIP on line drives, lots of one-run losses, etc.) and injuries. But the luck figures to turn a corner and Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay are getting closer to returning. So there is no solution or trade to be made during the first week of July. The next few weeks will determine which of the following three routes the Phillies take…

1) Keep Hamels, re-sign him

Up until a few weeks ago, this was the most realistic scenario. Hamels is the best homegrown pitcher the Phillies have ever developed, and all of the trades and signings Ruben Amaro has made in recent years mean nothing if the Phils can’t hang onto their most prized piece.

But if you keep Hamels, you risk losing him in free agency without much compensation. The new collective bargaining agreement reduces the value of the draft picks teams get for losing top-tier free agents.

Just think about what took place last summer with the Mets and Jose Reyes. Reyes was experiencing a career year and had tons of trade value, but the Mets stood pat. It gained them nothing… they finished 77-85 and lost Reyes to free agency.

You don’t want that to happen with Hamels. You don’t want the Phillies to miss out on the chance to replenish a barren farm system just to go 78-84 or 80-82.

2) Trade Hamels
Cole Hamels will have no shortage of suitors. Some may argue that his value is reduced because a trading team would get little compensation if it can’t re-sign him this winter, but I just don’t see it.  There are 24 teams in contention right now  for either a division title or a wild card berth, and almost every single team needs pitching. On July 25, when there are 10 or more teams on the playoff precipice and a No. 1 starting pitcher is just sitting there on the trading block, compensation picks mean very little. Teams think about the future, sure. But they also think about now.

Hamels gives a team a chance to not just make the playoffs, but make/win a World Series. He would drastically improve the World Series hopes of the Reds, Cardinals, Red Sox, Rangers and Tigers and give a playoff jolt to the Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and White Sox.

When you look at what type of package Hamels could command, the easy comparison is the C.C. Sabathia deal of 2008. The Indians dealt C.C. to the Brewers that year for power-hitting first baseman and top-25 overall prospect, Matt LaPorta, a first-round pitcher in Zach Jackson and highly-touted, athletic seventh-round outfielder Michael Brantley, who is now an Indians staple.

That is the type of package that makes sense for Hamels — two former first-rounders, one of which (LaPorta) who is/was seen as a can’t-miss prospect, and a high-upside bat. It doesn’t matter how LaPorta, Jackson and Brantley have progressed, because at the time the haul for Cleveland was very good.

Such a trade would upgrade the Phillies’ farm system, which is currently ranked 27th of 30 teams by Baseball America. The Phillies have very little going on offensively in the minor leagues. Six of their top eight prospects are pitchers, and the two who aren’t are Freddy Galvis and catcher Sebastian Valle.

If the Phillies trade Hamels, they could center a deal around a third baseman such as the Rangers’ Mike Olt, the Tigers’ Nick Castellanos or the Diamondbacks’ Matt Davidson. All three are top-100 prospects who are improving every year and can hit for average and power.

Third base is the Phils’ prime position of need. Placido Polanco‘s days are numbered, but the third base market is so weak this winter that it probably makes the most sense to pick up Polanco’s option for 2013. David Wright has an option that will be picked up (or he’ll be extended), Kevin Youkilis will be 34 and coming off a down year, and after that the next best available 3B is Mark Reynolds. Yeah.

If the Phillies do trade Hamels, the following is the best-case scenario…

3) Trade Hamels, then re-sign him

This idea has been brought up over the last few days and makes a ton of sense. Concede the season and trade Hamels, get much-needed young talent, then re-sign Hamels in order to make a push again next season. The Phillies are still a very good team when complete, and they could easily compete for an NL East title if all of the pieces are back and healthy for 2013. Engaging in a full rebuild is unnecessary at this time.

But the question arises: Would Hamels re-sign with a team that just traded him?

I don’t see why not. Hamels is a very intelligent, mindful, philosophical player. His quotes are always well thought-out and he clearly understands the business of baseball. I don’t know that he’d see a trade as a slap in the face, he’d see it as Amaro doing what he needs to do for the short- and long-term.

It has been asked if this has ever happened before — has a team ever traded a superstar at the deadline only to re-sign him that winter? No instances come to mind, but that instead speaks to the uniqueness of the Phillies’ situation. You don’t often see a team with such a poor record that is a legitimate World Series contender for the following season. You don’t often see a team that seeks to sell one summer only to buy several months later.

Ruben Amaro is in almost uncharted territory and has the ability to get very creative over the coming weeks. If the play on the field is leaving you uninspired, this trade season is a reason to keep your focus on the Phillies.

Our Ryan Dinger doesn’t agree with me. Check back Thursday morning for his take.

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 0 Leo

    Could the Phillies potentially trade Hamels and Lee this summer, get the major haul in prospects, and get the money to resign Hamels at the end of the year?

  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    There in essence is one player who was traded off at a deadline (self imposed as Ruben created it) and resigned (albeit a year later). Cliff Lee. That script just didn’t fit the tightness of what’s painted in the Hamels scenario, but to me, it’s similar enough. And frankly, consideration of a traded player resigning with the original employer is in all liklihood, a good deal of blind faith, but it’s not impossible.

    The Hamels stories have become exhausting and excruciating. They are at a point of challenging a healthy mentality. But the intensity won’t die. I’m at a stage where I don’t even care. That’s not the final stage, but the way it is for now.

    I find myself more intruiged by a very low possibility that I feel bears at least a minimal degree of watch.

    There’s a very small chance that Roy Halladay coming back as soon as possible carries a curse, if you will, to it. That’s if you like seeing him in Phillie red.

    Jim Salisbury, as recently as after the 11-1 Met pounding wrote “Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino could all be trade candidates if the Phils keep freefalling.”

    Lee has been defined as difficult to trade. He’s still considered a valuble commodity, but carries a lot of financial obligation, and a possibly tricky no trade when you consider how few clubs match up with him making sense. Yet, a reliable Jim Salisbury repeated Cliff’s name in that context that recently.

    Doc, on the other hand, carries less obligation in length, and money. And while Cliff, despite his 2012 results is worthy of many accolades for past results, he was very seldom ever considered Doc’s equal.

    Halladay has said all the right things. Even when the story about his 2014 option becoming shaky due to his injury became a topic of public awareness, Doc said he wanted to finish his career in Philly. But did you notice the amazing silence that emminated from the Phils front office, and fan base off that?

    Did you see a couple days ago, the losing streak at 5, where Doc said words to the effect of it’s up to us (the players) to keep pushing. The only push I’ve seen recently before, or since is the Phils getting pushed around.

    So I’m not here to tell you that Roy Halladay will be traded. The we don’t know what we’re talking about but let’s do it anyway rumor mill has spun that out of control with Cole Hamels, and will continue doing so every year of future naseball history.

    But I am here to tell you that if Doc pitches like Doc in 3-4 starts prior to the deadline, and if this club continues plunging faster than a deep sea diver, Doc might look at all the 20 something talent around the division, might realize how short time is, and might be very attractive to a club that like the Phillies, doesn’t discuss their trade strategies publicly. If we, as fans, find this crap frustrating, how do you think a guy like Doc finds it? There’s a year more committment to Doc than there is Cole with his out and out rent a player tag, and as Doc has shown, he’s a rare breed where it’s not about the money. He didn’t hold up the bank to come here, and gave his blessing for the club to pay Cliff Lee more than him. Pitching well in July might spur a Halladay trade market while everyone’s talking about Hamels. To me, the smart GMs will be watching this ready to kick the tires even if the story never reaches rumor monger publicity levels. It’s not a likely devlopment, but it’s not a desperate diversion to get away from the exhausted Hamels story.

  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    Another guy who played out his free agency but resigned in a roundabout way like Lee would be Andy Pettitt, with the Yanks. But that traded in July, resigned in December scenario is just asking a lot.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

    He won’t be back once he’s dealt. You can cross that scenario off the list.

    • Posts: 5229 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      I agree completely, once gone, there is very little chance he returns.

      But I still think (if they can’t sign him) they have a better chance with what they might receive in trade than in picks. No one knows for certain obviously, but you’d hope the prospects from a trade should be a little closer to ML ready. I like what I can see of the numbers of both Olt and Castellanos for future 3B’s.

  • Posts: 0 George

    Trading your best pitcher is a desperation move made by a team with no hope for the present OR THE FUTURE. As badly as the Phils are playing right now, they aren’t going to be so horrible next year that they should attempt a “rebuild” with their one ace who’s actually still young.

    Hamels should be re-signed, even if it’s very costly to do so.

  • Posts: 5229 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    My major disagreement with #2 and #3 is your stance on the “bad luck BABIP” thing. If you have guys like Juan Pierre and Freddy Galvis and Mike Fontenot on your team, their squibbers, bunts and bloop hits make up for all those hard hit line drives that don’t fall in. The team’s 62 Stolen Bases added to the 231 Extra base hits (or more precisely the 151 doubles and triples) make up for the lack of power from those guys. Sure they hoped to have H and U back sooner, but they are not the saviors for this season.

    IMO- The real problem in 2012 is our “supposed” strength, pitching and defense, and the inability to hold leads. That’s where the bad luck is, injuries to or poor performances by starters, and completely unreliable relief. They brought in Qualls, Piniero, Willis, Misch, Purcey, Threets, Valdes, Sanches, Diekman, and Horst, and none of them have worked out so far. It’s not like they are not trying.

    I’ll give you an example, and this doesn’t even account for later inning leads. The Philies have taken the lead first in 21 of their 46 losses. Think about that,- if they win just over half of those 21, the record is not 36-46, it’s 47-35 and in contention for first in the division.

    And your solution is to trade our best pitcher? Seriously? Just sign him to an extension and get it over with.

    And I don’t care about L.T., it’s a barrier in the mind only IMO. I think that if they just make sure they keep that park (close to) full with Hamels on the team, (because the fans will not be happy with any other scenario) then the team can afford to pay the extra percentage points. The other side of the coin is a sea of blue seats, and I don’t think thats the better solution.

  • Posts: 62 LCMRSalazar85

    Avatar of LCMRSalazar85

    At this point Hamels isn’t going to comment on what he thinks or feels, all he’s going to state is what the team needs to do get back on track again & mention how badly we need Howard & Doc back. Our window of opportunity to resign him was back during spring training for a new contract. RAJ needs to strike while the iron is hot & get all that he can for Cole. If Cole wants to come back to Philly, he’ll do a similar act that Cliff Lee did when we resigned him. Two people that need to go sooner rather than later – GG and Dubee. Teams have figured out what these guys’ game plans are, and why we haven’t been able win a game since 6/26/12.

  • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    This is the same author that, back in March, suggested that the Phillies could and should re-sign Hamels AND Shane to long-term deals. Just sayin’ …

    • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

      Avatar of Corey Seidman

      Yes… in April the Phillies weren’t 10 games under .500 and going nowhere during the 2012 season.

      The Brewers had no thoughts of trading Zack Greinke in April. No team ever really has thoughts of trading their superstars in April.

      The scenario here is to trade Hamels and attempt to re-sign him in the off-season. But I guess you’re right, I should have just gone along with my April opinion for the sake of it, even though keeping Hamels and finishing 78-84 accomplishes nothing.

      Just sayin’…

  • Posts: 5229 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Chuck I have to admit that I have also changed positions on this subject. I wanted them to take a hard line on Hamels, or even let him walk. Now with the events of the season as I described above, I’ve come to realize they need him more than ever.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew From Waldorf

    @ Ken Bland!
    you hit a homer here!

    The problem starts with Jimmy Rollins.
    He hits first.
    Then you goto second and you have Palanco and on a good day Utley.

    And then you have an old man living in 2007 who hits Utley third.

    And then the best comes up (even if his disabillity makes him a no show for 2012).

    We have people on a phillies blog who think Rollins Utley Howard can win in 2013!!!!

    This is serious? LOL
    Then trade Hamels and make it all OK

    You trade him for Ruth Gehrig and Lefty Wynn
    Then you parlay Ruth for Hamiltion.

    Then you wake up with the worst team in the world.
    And you trade them for young stars

    Whats Howards Worth?
    Ill tell you this. Jayson Werth has value.
    The prized psssessions have none.

    Lefty when is Howard back?

    • Posts: 5229 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      Andrew, I don’t know, but he is not the savior, I said that already above, but you like repetitiveness. So I’ll say it again for you too. With this pitching and defense, and inability to hold a lead, 2 Howard’s, or 3 wouldn’t save them.

      BTW- Who is Lefty Wynn? I pride myself on knowing my Lefty’s, but you got me there. Early Wynn maybe?

  • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Lefty, I agree. Re-signing him and “re-tooling” around him is paramount to the future success of the team, IMO. Vic, while a nice player, is expendable and could/should be traded at the deadline (unless the Phillies go on a tear in the next few weeks and close the gap). Even so, I wouldn’t re-sign him (Vic) unless it’s for a reasonable one or two year deal (probably not happening).

  • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    An under-performing, injured and over-paid Jayson Werth has value??????

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Well, I like option #3. I think that you’re not giving Cole enough credit for understanding that trading him, getting value for him, and then clearing some cap space (I call it cap space) in the off season to be try to sign him would be the best option for the Phils. I don’t think he would take it personally. Cliff Lee didn’t did he. If you trade him now, lots of things may happen between now and the winter time that may enable the Phillies to free the money to get him back. Is it a cinch? No. Cliff Lee came back, didn’t he.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    I just deleted about three paragraphs.

    Bottom line – Phils are in a tough spot with no right answer. The season is over which I blame mostly on the pitching. Last year we had unbelievable pitching and moaned and groaned for two months about no offense. Where are the shutouts? The bullpen had been decimated. We can only hope that the starter for 2013 return to 2011 form – whomever is still around.

  • Posts: 0 Bob the barber

    Trade Hamels for two ready for prime time young players. (Can’t make any mistakes here This is the key, right here). We need them to start next year and for the remainder of this year. I would want another young pitcher that is ready to break into the rotation for this year and the next few years, and a position player, 3rd base, or outfielder, who is ready to step in and play. Get these two pieces now, and you have, hopefully, two lower salary young guys that can play and be part of the new future core. Do a three team if necessary to get these two pieces if we can’t get them both from one team. Trade Victorino for bullpen help. If possible, trade Polanco for a bullpen piece.
    Next off season, shop Lee around for the best deal we can get. Don’t give him away for
    maybes. Hopefully we can get another young pitcher, (starter or bullpen piece),or the third baseman or outfielder that we didn’t get in the Hamels deal. .
    Now, trade for Carlos Quintin from the Padres. Play him in left, move Pierre or Mayberry to center, and the third baseman we get in trade starts at third.
    Next season, you drop, 31 million off the payroll by not having Hamels, 9.5, Blanon, 8.5, Polanco, 6.2, Wiggington, 2.0, Contreas, 2,5, Nix, 1.5, and we already shedded ,Jim Thome, 1.25, and Dontrelle Willis, $850,000. Also, thank the baseball Gods, we got rid of Qualls and his 1.? million contract, and even got some money for him. Another 21.2 million if you move Lee. That would make a total of 51 million off of this season’s payroll, for next year.
    Then use whatever it takes to resign Hamels as a free agent, and the rest of the money to fill holes through free agency. If Hamels doesn’t sign, hey, there is more than one fish in the ocean and we will be sitting on a boat load of money to offer other free agents.
    Without knowing who the free agents will be next year, I am sure we can fill the gaps.

  • Posts: 0 Jaron B

    I think we should consider trading Hamels for a nice righty reliever at AAA or above and a few prospects at A & AA: OF & power hitter – one of the three must be highly ranked. With draft trouble and a highly unlikely recovery on the horizo (we need to have a .650 winning pctg. to recover), we should get something out of Hamels in case we loose him for good.

    Free agency is possible:
    The offer I’d give is a back-loaded, five-to-six-year deal worth $18MM to $23MM per year with an awards package, full not-trade clause, and an option year (2018 or 2019) worth $1MM below the contract’s salary cap number and a 40% buyout.

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  • Posts: 1 pattietebo

    Avatar of pattietebo

    herfair the huffy children wild explosion breast and chest pad 0 – $2.00 :

  • Posts: 0 Ryan

    The Orioles traded then resigned sidney Ponson to the giants in 2003 and then re-signed him in 2004 at a cheaper cost. Of course he sucked afterwards but it happened.

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