By playing a significant part in the four-pitcher no-hitter chucked by the Philadelphia Phillies this week, Cole Hamels briefly took the focus off the trade rumors that will continue to swirl around him as the off-season approaches. And by briefly, I mean quite briefly.
On Monday, Phillies’ general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced that “significant changes” are coming to Philadelphia’s roster this off-season. That will presumably come in the form of trades, and the team has no bigger trade piece to shake things up than Hamels.
With that in mind, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! believes that Hamels is likely to be traded this off-season because he would yield the biggest rebuilding package in return.
“Cole Hamels will be wearing a different uniform next season. Amaro told Philadelphia reporters Monday that he planned on overhauling his roster this offseason, which is all well and good in a fantasy land where opposing teams agree to pay full freight for the overpaid boondoggles with which he has saddled the Phillies.”
Passan also addresses the fact that the other players the Phillies could trade might be little more than salary dumps, but Hamels could command real value in a deal:
Hamels, on the other hand, is a true ace, one of the 10 best pitchers in baseball, and he will draw interest far and wide.
Besides chipping in his part on the no-hitter this week, Hamels has been outstanding all season: a 2.50 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 165 strikeouts in 169.1 innings of work.
It bears repeating, again: the Phillies do not have to trade Hamels, as they will have plenty of money to pay the remainder of his contract with a lucrative TV deal on the way. They will only pursue that course of action if they see it as the best move for their franchise. With a front office determined to make big changes this winter, they very well might get serious about going down that path.
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