It appears as if things are starting to get a little more serious now.
Yes, Cole Hamels did not pitch very well in the Phillies' ugly 10-2 loss to the Yankees in New York on Wednesday afternoon. He lasted just five innings in his first start after missing his last one with a slightly strained hamstring, giving up five runs on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches in those five innings and saw his ERA rise to 3.26.
Of course, this will lead some to talk about "failed auditions" and the like, but Hamels' track record goes well beyond just one game. He's a stud, and any team looking for an ace pitcher knows he is the best arm on the trade block, including Johnny Cueto.
But perhaps the biggest news on the trade front was the report by multiple sources on Wednesday which confirmed former executive Andy MacPhail would be joining the franchise very soon.
Club president Pat Gillick will make the final call on a Hamels deal, but he will have help from general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and others. One of those people is expected to be longtime baseball executive Andy MacPhail, who sources say could soon join the organization as Gillick’s eventual successor.
This confirms that it is not Amaro who is running the Hamels Trade Show, and is the clearest indication yet that Ruben Amaro has not been guaranteed a position with the team next year. The car keys have apparently been taken away from him, and while Amaro may still do the lions share of the negotiating, make no mistake about it. Any Cole Hamels trade will be a joint Gillick-Amaro jawn.
Hopefully, that allays your fears a bit.
That said, the trade deadline is now about a month away, and it appears talks are starting to heat up. Four teams have been in the news over the last 48 hours, and here's where things stand (at least we think, anyway).
This kinda sucks, because the Astros have some very interesting trade pieces in their system. However, part of the reason Hamels may have put Houston on his no-trade list is because, over the last four years, the team has been a real loser.
However, now they are atop the American League West with a ton of positional talent, a solid rotation with a legitimate ace (Dallas Keuchel), and the best bullpen in the American League. One would think, if the Astros and Phils were close to something, he might consider going to the Astros if they agreed to guarantee his vesting option.
Then, it would just be a matter of how much of that option the Phils would be willing to pay, if any.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS:
One team that just happened to have a scout show up in the Bronx today, with Cole Hamels on the mound: The Dodgers.— Danny Knobler (@DannyKnobler) June 24, 2015
The Dodgers are, outside of the Cardinals, the best team in the National League and are a perennial World Series contender. They would be a terrific landing spot for him, but it's unclear how Hamels would feel about going to L.A., even though he's from California, originally.
The Dodgers have some premium talent from which to make a deal, however, they have to want to part with some of it first, primarily Corey Seager and Julio Urias. It's not clear how desperate they are for Hamels, but there is a definite drop-off in their rotation after Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
NEW YORK YANKEES:
Report: Cole Hamels Would Waive No-Trade Clause To Come To Yankees http://t.co/cCRq7ABbwu— CBS New York (@CBSNewYork) June 23, 2015
Of course, the Yankees didn't need to have a scout "make the trip" to New York to watch Hamels pitch. He was doing it right in front of their eyes today, although he wasn't his sharpest. That, of course, makes sense, given that he missed his last turn, was likely a bit rusty, and dealt with a "sweaty palm" situation that has legitimately affected his control in the past.
Get this man some towels, please.
On the Yankees, Hamels told the New York Post he would waive his no-trade to play for them.
"The opportunity to play for a team that could ultimately get to the World Series is what every guy hopes for and every guy works for, starting with the offseason and spring training."
And New York Newsday's David Lennon says the Yankees apparently have interest in Hamels, although to what degree remains a mystery. New York has a couple interesting prospects, including minor league slugger Aaron Judge and pitcher Luis Severino.
Texas is a surprising 37-34, just 3 1/2 games behind the Astros in the AL West, and the advantage they have, along with the Yankees, is that they were one of the nine teams not on Hamels' no-trade list, which means they would not be forced to pick up Hamels' vesting option.
The Rangers have hit the ball well but will be without ace Yu Darvish all year, and have also been missing Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Matt Harrison, although those three should be returning to the team soon. Still, Hamels could be the piece that gives Texas a leg up on the Astros, and the Rangers appear to have some pieces in the minor league system that could interest the Phils, including Nomar Mazara and Jorge Alfaro.
Talks between these two teams appear to be the most intensive, but there are still major obstacles to getting a deal done. Hamels is still owed $86.2 million through 2018, plus a $20 million vesting option for 2019 that kicks in after he meets a certain innings pitched threshold.
Something tells me this isn't the last Cole Hamels Rumors post you're going to read, guys.