We’re here to do important work at the Eric Reining WordPress. Really important, hard-hitting investigative work. Below is a brief ESPN Insider Rumors history of Cole Hamels. Maybe you’ll notice a common theme? Possibly?
Here we go:
So, like, the Phillies are interested in trading Cole Hamels? That’s a thing?
As you can see, it takes very little to be an ESPN Insider. Stylistically, if this is something you strive for in the future, it’s apparent all you need to be fluent at is asking questions. AJ Mass is the prototype Insider flunky, making an Internet career off of linking articles and inserting a headline to grab the reader.
I’m not infallible, myself. I do it too.
However, when it comes to the actual question, which more or less is: Are the Phillies ready to make trades? Or, Are the Phillies ready to trade Cole Hamels? the answer is almost assuredly no.
It’s not that he doesn’t have immense trade value, and it’s not that Philadelphia couldn’t get a sizable return for him, it’s that no amount of players is good enough for GM Ruben Amaro Jr., and he proves this every year. In 2012 Hamels signed a 7-year, $153 million extension spanning from 2012-2018, and since then he’s seemingly been on baseball’s trade block. It’s kind of strange when you think about the symbolism of the contract, which was meant to have Cole Hamels as the building block for multiple years of success.
It hasn’t worked out.
The Phillies are bad; they’ve been bad; but more importantly, they’re old. Philadelphia are the worst-case-scenario: Aging players past their primes playing on massive contracts. In 2010 they extended Ryan Howard for five years and $115 million, and he’s produced a grand total of +1.5 fWAR over that span; they signed Jimmy Rollins for 3/39 a few years ago; they gave Jonathon Paplebon, a closer, 4/52; they signed Cliff Lee (who’s been good) and Roy Halladay (who eventually got hurt) to massive deals;
The Phillies are a classic example of a team paying for players based on one World Series year, and that was seven years ago. Right now is not then, but they are still investing in the sentimentality.
The word on the street, or at least what I’ve read from a couple places, is that GM RAJ is looking for three top prospects for Cole Hamels. I’m not saying that’s a totally unreasonable asking price, but it gives him a built-in excuse for when the trade never happens. If you’re a Rangers fan, the equivalent to his demands are 3B Joey Gallo, C Jorge Alfaro and OF Nomar Mazara. It’s possible there are teams out there — like the Cubs or Red Sox or Astros — with a better top-three than Texas have, but that’s essentially the list of teams capable of acquiring Hamels. Amaro is limiting his market with outrageous demands, and it’s totally possible his asking price is what it is because he has no intentions of trading his star pitcher.
ESPN have been asking the same question over and over. Are the Phillies ready to trade Cole Hamels? Are they ready to rebuild? Then the winter passes, the trade deadline comes up and we hear the same questions, and before we know it we’re back to the winter. And, again, the same questions are popping up.
No, the Phillies are not ready to rebuild. No, Cole Hamels isn’t going anywhere. Ruben Amaro has convinced ownership, but more importantly himself, that the 2008 dream is not dead, and he does nothing but reinforce this fact at every opportunity that presents itself.
Hamels is the biggest trade chip he’s got; he might be the only real trade chip in Amaro’s possession. If there was ever an offseason to cash in on a reasonably priced superstar, it’s this one. But Philadelphia are still holding on.
For what, I don’t really know.