Can a team with a payroll of about $30 million really be candidate to land Cole Hamels in a trade?
The Houston Astros certainly have a number of prospects that are intriguing (most of them former Phils' farmhands traded away in the Hunter Pence deal), and as the Boston Globe's Nick Carfardo wrote Sunday, they could be a sleeper team in the Hamels Sweepstakes.
The Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, and Rangers are interested in Hamels. The sleeper team is the aggressive Astros. The Giants may be in if they can’t get James Shields. The feeling has been that if the Red Sox would pick up Hamels’s 2019 option at $20 million, he would waive his no-trade. The five years remaining on Hamels’s deal would be worth $110 million. Would he want an extension beyond that to OK a trade?
Most of the teams on that list make a lot of sense. But the Astros? Really?
Even if Houston was interested, would Hamels accept a trade there? It's hard to see a deal to Houston happening, unless they are one of the teams not on Hamels' no-trade list.
If Hamels cannot block a trade to Houston, then all bets are off. Of course, Hamels is set to make $23.5 million next year and the entire payroll of the Astros, as of this writing, stood at $30 million for next year.
Needless to say, that would be... weird.
HAMELS' TRADE DESTINATION PRIORITIES
In an interview on MLB Network Radio Sunday, Hamels outlined where he would like to be traded to, if he had his druthers. And yes, he has some druthers, thanks to his limited no-trade clause.
Hamels said going to a contender would be his first choice. That ain't the Phils. A team on the west coast, near where he grew up, would be his second choice, and a team from the Midwest (where his wife is from) would be third.
Perhaps that puts Houston in the mix. Either way, don't expect a Hamels trade anytime soon, according to Cafardo.
@michaelboldiga hamels market will take a while. Shields probably goes first.— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) December 15, 2014
TAMPA INTERESTED IN HOWARD?
The Phillies have been trying to get teams to take Howard in the hopes he could fill their role as DH. It seems clear the Phils are willing to pay a great majority of his remaining $60 million guaranteed over the next two years if they can get something for him, even trying to slide him into a deal with the Orioles for Marlon Byrd.
The O's weren't biting. But Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times indicates there is one other American League East team that might be interested.
The Phillies, who started their remodel by dealing Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers, are expected to give in and eat most of the $60 million owed to dump Ryan Howard, who still could be of interest to the Rays.
Howard went through a lot personally last year, as we have found out in recent weeks. Perhaps there is a team willing to take him on at, say, $10 million, to see if he can provide 30 home runs from a DH spot. And, perhaps, that team is the Rays.
ROLLINS DEAL WILL BE RESOLVED SOON
So, we've been saying goodbye to Jimmy Rollins for a few days now, but the trade to send him to the Dodgers still isn't official. That's because of the corresponding deal Los Angeles made with the Padres to send Matt Kemp to San Diego.
It looks like early this week, if things go well, the deal should be finalized.
One of the pitchers the Phils are receiving for Rollins, Zach Eflin, was obtained by the Dodgers from the Padres in the Kemp deal. But until the physicals are taken care of and that deal is official, the Rollins deal cannot be completed.
But, it looks like that should happen soon.