As of dinnertime Wednesday, the Texas Rangers appear to be the leading contenders to land Cole Hamels. But so far, it appears as if a deal is not terribly close, despite assertions from one of the most plugged-in Phillies beat reporters, Jim Salisbury, earlier today in which he believes Hamels will soon be a Texas Ranger...
Someone just asked me where Hamels is going. I believe his next start will be for Texas Rangers. Strongly believe that.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) July 29, 2015
Again, Hamels can't block trade to Texas. One of two AL teams he can't block. NYY the other.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) July 29, 2015
Phils say Harang will pitch tomorrow nite. The Phils moved Cole Hamels to Fri in anticipation of trade. Doubt he pitches for Phils again tho— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) July 29, 2015
And that was echoed by others during the course of the afternoon.
ESPN's Jayson Stark was on 97.5 The Fanatic Wednesday and provided an update into the negotiations, at least as he's been told.
Stark believes the Phils could get Jorge Alfaro (considered a bigger Iván Rodríguez) & Chi Chi Gonzalez a top of the rotation guy from Texas— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) July 29, 2015
And throw another "too many chefs in the kitchen" log on the fire...
Stark on the Phillies front office: "I have heard a lot of people complaining about how slow the Phillies are moving."— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) July 29, 2015
Despite Texas' desire to find a non-rental to plug into their rotation for 2016 and beyond, and a surplus of prospects from which to deal, there is apparently still a lot of haggling going on.
Rangers and Phillies are nowhere close on what Texas would give up to get Hamels in a trade. Rangers aren't budging on top farm prospects— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) July 29, 2015
At this point, no one knows anything. Trying to guess who's right and who's wrong is pointless. Every reporter, be they local or national, is being told what each team WANTS them to know, not what's REALLY happening. So while some of the stuff we see here may have some truth to it, it's likely only a shade of the truth, and not much more.
But it was a "fun" day to follow the national writers on Twitter, especially as the Detroit Tigers made their big announcement. Through the media. Of course.
#Rangers have spent months chasing Hamels. They want him. But might their leverage now improve with other suitors also on Price?— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2015
I want to say straight out that I don't think the national writers are stupid. And I don't think they're doing any team's "bidding" for them. I think they are reporting information as it's given to them by higher-ups in various Major League organizations, and it's up to us to decide which of it is real and which of it is planted information.
That being said, there is a startling lack of context in the argument that David Price dramatically affects the Cole Hamels market.
First of all, Hamels and Price are in two totally different situations, and there are pluses and minuses to each. Price is a rental, and any team that signs him, whether it's the Dodgers, Cubs, Astros, Yankees, Blue Jays, or whoever, has to know that there is no guarantee that they can sign him long-term.
Acquiring Price will also cost a team a substantial prospect or two in return, possibly some team's top prospect. In other words, the cost to acquire Price in terms of prospects is similar to what it would cost to land Hamels. And while Price may be the slightly better pitcher and is two years younger, the age is irrelevant if he's not signed long-term. And no team that acquires him can guarantee that right now.
So if you're a team in need of a starter, you can give up perhaps a slightly less valuable prospect (or maybe not) for a dozen starts from Price, with the opportunity to sign him to a six or seven-year deal next year somewhere between $170-200 million.
Or, you can pay perhaps a tad bit more in prospects for Cole Hamels, who is signed for the next three years at $70.5 million, with a 2019 team option of $20 million or a vesting option of $24 million. And you're GUARANTEED to have him. There's no risk in losing him. He's a bird in the hand.
The other important thing to remember is that the Rangers have no interest in a rental like Price. So Price being on the market means little in the Phils' negotiations with Texas. It could hurt the chances of Hamels landing in Los Angeles, Chicago, or any of the other rumored Price destinations, and until Price is traded, it might affect Hamels' market slightly in that regard.
But Price can only play for one team. And once he's traded, every team that misses out on Price will be hot for Hamels once again.
Shopping for Cole Hamels and David Price is the difference between shopping for personal and commercial lawn equipment. If I want something to mow my back yard, I got to Home Depot and get a mower. If I want to mow my back-40, I got to John Deere and get a commercial mower.
Both stores sell the same thing, but to a very different client base. I'm not in the market for a John Deere mower. I couldn't get it to fit in my back yard. And a guy with five acres doesn't want a push mower, even if it's self-propelled. And someone on Twitter put it a different, and succinct way.
So while Price's existence on the market certainly has some bearing (if Los Angeles is more interested in Price, the Phillies can't hold L.A.'s interest in Hamels over Texas' head and force them to offer better prospects), it's also not a killer.
How much overlap is there really in the Hamels & Price market? Both great pitchers but control should make distinctly different price tags.— Mike Ferrin (@MikeFerrinSXM) July 29, 2015
Some of the national writers look at all these pitchers and situations as being the same thing. "They're all starting pitchers," they'll say.
But there are some very big differences between just about all of them, and some big differences in the priorities and needs of the teams that are going after these starters.
Anyway, if anything happens, it ain't happening tonight.
Hearing from teams in the Cole Hamels hunt that if he gets traded, it likely won't happen until at least Thursday. Possibly deadline day— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 29, 2015