It’s that time of year again when the Philadelphia Phillies seem to be wagging the prospect of trading Cole Hamels at the rest of Major League Baseball, this time attracting the likes of the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers.
Hamels hasn’t been pitching well this season, at least no by his high standards, and is going through something of a drought when it comes to good performances. A third bad start in a row might start causing some concerns to the potential teams willing to trade for him, especially when he still has three more seasons with $23.5 million going to him in each of them. In 2019 there’s a team option of $20 million, but also a $24 million vesting option if he 1) has 400 IP in 2017-18, including 200 IP in 2018, and 2) is not on the disabled list with a shoulder or elbow injury at the end of the 2018 season.
Hamels is 5-7 this season, which isn’t too bad considering he’s playing on the worst team in all of baseball. But his ERA has risen to 3.91 (he was 2.46 last season) and except for more strikeouts per nine innings, he’s declines in almost every metric. Obviously this doesn’t mean he’s not good anymore, but these are warning signs for teams thinking about trading for him, especially with so much guaranteed money coming in the future.
The Dodgers are leading the NL West and have plenty of expensive pitchers already, but they’re not worried about adding another one to the mix. The Cubs are trying to keep up with the Cardinals (impossible) and make the Wild Card, currently in hold of one of those tickets. The Boston Red Sox are thinking about the future, not this season, while the Rangers are doing better than people expected them to, but they’re also not in a position to make the most of this trade right away, instead hoping it falling into place for them next year.