The Cole Hamels rumor train is just leaving the station, folks.
It's going to be a depressing ride, to say the least. The Phils, in full-on rebuild mode, are actively looking to trade the ace left-hander, according to a report from the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. In his piece from November 16th, Cafardo said general manager Ruben Amaro has already made a couple offers for deals involving Hamels that have been shot down by the Red Sox.
Look for the Phillies to reopen trade talks with the Red Sox on Cole Hamels. The Sox have shot down a couple of proposals already.
It's not surprising that the Sox have shot down a couple of proposals. The Phillies are certainly asking for the moon, three top, Major League ready prospects, for Cole. That would likely include any of Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Henry Owens, Blake Swihart and/or Anthony Ranaudo.
Certainly they would not be able to land all of them, but you can bet Amaro is starting the negotiations asking for one or more of those players.
What is surprising is that it appears the Phils are the ones being more proactive here, offering trades that are being shot down. Amaro said last week that he's not dying to move Hamels, but that could all just be public posturing.
ESPN's Jim Bowden broke down four potential trades the Phillies could make for Hamels. For a deal involving the Red Sox, Bowden suggested right-handed starter Ranaudo, Triple-A shortstop Deven Marrero and right-handed starter Matt Barnes. That doesn't sound like a deal that will be good enough for Amaro and Co.
For the Cubs, Bowden suggested that Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Jorge Soler are all untouchable and would not be included in any Hamels deal. He then speculated a deal involving Double-A pitcher C.J. Edwards, A-level outfielder Billy McKinney and Double-A outfielder Albert Almora could get the job done. Again, I'm not sure that's quite enough.
He also mentioned deals involving the Dodgers and Cardinals. In a deal with St. Louis, he speculated a package of Shelby Miller, Stephen Piscotty and Carson Kelly could get it done, and with Los Angeles, the Phillies could reasonably expect a package of Julio Urias, Chris Anderson, Alex Guerrero and Zach Lee for Hamels.
Whatever happens, it at least appears as if the Phillies are more motivated to deal Hamels than their public proclamations would have you believe.
Over the weekend, ESPN's Buster Olney, who I like very much, sent out this tweet about A.J. Burnett and his deal with the Pirates that will pay him about $4.5 million less in 2015 than he was due to make with the Phillies.
Ruben Amaro should sit down with A.J. Burnett and ask him why he walked away from the Phillies and an extra $4.25m. http://t.co/k8mQFKmBhF— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 16, 2014
Somehow, Olney is having a hard time understanding why a pitcher who has already made $123.9 million during the course of his career would want to take a $4.25 million pay cut next year, in his final year before retirement, in order to play for a contending team over a sure-to-be last place Phillies team.
What's there to talk about here, Buster? In fact, in the very article you tweeted out, the columnist himself, Gene Collier, made it a point to minimize the pay cut.
Much will be made of the way Burnett declined a 2015 salary of $12.75 million from Philadelphia to take $4.25 million less from the Pirates, but, frankly, that would be a lot more heart-warming if he hadn’t made $123.9 million over the past eight years.
So, I don't know what's so complicated about this. A.J. will be 38 next year. The 2015 season will be his last and he wants to play on a team that has a chance to win more than 73 games. And having already earned almost $124 million in his career, he is willing to forgo $4.25 million next year in order to do it.
By the way, he IS still earning $8.5 million next year, so it's not like he's being paid the league minimum.
There is no story here, Buster. Let's all just move on.
YASMANY TOMAS LATEST
There has been no movement on the Yasmany Tomas front, despite what appeared to be some momentum on Friday. Reports were that Tomas was on his way to the U.S., and a deal with a Major League team appeared imminent. However...
Spoke to Yasmany Tomas agent. Says not true that Yas is flying to US to meet teams, teams going to DR to see him. Phils in running for him— John Clark CSN (@JClarkCSN) November 14, 2014
So it appears the Phillies are still in a position to land Tomas, but there are still some other teams in the mix as well. Tomas can sign with any team he wants at any time.
The waiting game continues.
YOAN MONCADA OFFICIALLY A FREE AGENT
Over the weekend, another young Cuban player hit the free agent market, albeit under different circumstances.
Source: Cuban teenage prospect Yoan Moncada has been declared a free agent by MLB. He still must be unblocked by OFAC before he can sign.— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) November 15, 2014
Moncada is a 19-year-old middle infielder and is seen as a better prospect than Tomas, compared to Yasiel Puig at that age. However, signing Moncada is a trickier process, one that favors the Yankees or the Red Sox.
Because of his age and lack of service time in the Cuban professional league, Moncada has been declared an amateur free agent, not a professional free agent like Tomas. Therefore, any team that signs him must do so out of their international amateur free agent pool. ESPN's Keith Law summed it up thusly...
Any major league team that signs Moncada must do so out of its July 2 budget for international free agents, and will pay a penalty of 100 percent on any amount paid to Moncada over that team's fixed budget amount. With the bonus paid to Moncada expected to exceed $30 million, the team that signs him would thus pay nearly $60 million in salary and penalties and would be proscribed from signing any July 2 (international) amateur free agent for the next two years for over $300,000.
This set-up favors the Yankees and Red Sox, two teams better able to absorb that penalty than most other clubs. It's unlikely the Phils will make a play for Moncada, and perhaps that is best. The Phils have traditionally done well with their amateur free agent scouting and like to spread their money around in Latin America.
It's doubtful the Phillies would want to limit their amateur free agency options in future years and pay a whopping penalty on top of it.
So, don't expect the Phils to be players in the Moncada sweepstakes.