The trade deadline may be Friday afternoon, but it appears the Phillies are setting a deadline of their own.
As the team mulls over trade proposals for Cole Hamels from a number of teams, with the San Francisco Giants reportedly in the mix now, ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Phils want to get this all wrapped up before Hamels' next start on Thursday.
That's the day before the deadline.
Clubs speaking to the Phillies believe they have reached the stage where they're attempting to "work through" all their options with ownership and are "trying to decide what they want to do," according to sources. However, those teams believe the Phillies intend to deal their ace before Friday's 4 p.m. ET trading deadline unless they decide none of the offers brings them enough in return, whereupon they would resume trying to trade him in the offseason.
Hamels' next start is scheduled for Thursday against the Braves, the night before the deadline. If he is traded before he makes that start, he would be the first pitcher since 1900 to throw a no-hitter and then make his next start that season for another team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
On the one hand, it makes sense for the Phils to demand final offers from teams before Cole takes the hill Thursday. After all, anytime a pitcher takes the mound, there is a risk of injury. It's safe to assume the team will also need to run any proposals by Hamels himself, in the event any of the teams interested are on his no-trade list.
And of course, this "deadline" may be no more than a way to get rival GMs to kick things into gear. There's nothing preventing the Phils from coming off their self-imposed "deadline" if they start to get real traction and real competition from other teams once Thursday morning rolls around.
However, should that happen, the Phillies would be fools to allow Hamels to pitch on Thursday night. There is no way Cole should take the mound with the team still listening to trade offers. There is no harm in pushing him back one night, after the deadline has passed.
So, either the Phillies make a deal before his scheduled start Thursday, or his start is pushed back to Friday. Anything else is straight-up lunacy.
Hamels was scheduled to start Thurs. will probably be moved to Fri, Pete Mac days. Lotta balls in air w deadline— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) July 28, 2015