5. Cole Hamels
The Texas Rangers are going to have to come to grips with their reality and begin at least a partial rebuild. They made an admirable attempt to extend their window of contention through the end of Adrian Beltre’s Hall of Fame career, but are heading in the wrong direction, and quickly. A lack of pitching in general and an offense that is too one-dimensional and prone to the strikeout has done the club in.
As bad as most of the Texas pitching staff has been this year, veteran left-hander Cole Hamels has bounced back from an injury-plagued 2017 effort to post strong numbers. He is struggling with the longball more than usual, but that should even out as soon as he leaves Texas. Hamels has given up 10 homers in 36.2 innings at home this year, but his road numbers look much better.
There is not a more accomplished starting pitcher available on the trade block this year. Hamels is in the final guaranteed year of his big contract and has a vesting option for 2019 that will trigger only if he manages to log over 250 innings this year. It’s not happening.
Hamels has long been a durable lefty with a strong track record of success in the postseason. He was the MVP of the 2008 NLCS and World Series and has a career ERA of 3.48 in 16 starts in October. The New York Yankees stand out as the best potential fit for Hamels and the Rangers, especially if they are willing to part with one of their top pitching prospects. If that’s the case, Texas will likely eat a large portion of what’s owed the pitcher for the rest of the season.