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Phillies trade Cole Hamels to the Rangers

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Although not announced by team officials as of this writing, reports are the Phillies and Rangers have agreed to a Cole Hamels deal.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

After 10 years, 114 wins, 294 starts, five playoff appearances, two World Series appearances, an NLCS MVP, World Series MVP and world championship, Cole Hamels is no longer a Philadelphia Phillie.

Oh, and the 13th no-hitter in franchise history. Not a bad going away present.

The greatest pitcher the franchise has developed in the last half century has unofficially been traded to the Texas Rangers for a boatload of players. Phils relief pitcher Jake Diekman is also included in the deal to the Rangers, along with cash considerations.

In exchange, the Phillies have reportedly received catcher Jorge Alfaro, outfielder Nick Williams, and minor league pitchers Jake Thompson, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, as well as Major Leaguer Matt Harrison.

For the Rangers, they were able to acquire one of the best pitchers in baseball to slot behind Yu Darvish starting next year and in the process didn't have to give up super-stud hitters Joey Gallo or Nomar Mazara, or pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez.

However, if the Phillies were looking to use Cole Hamels to help jumpstart their rebuilding process, it appears as though they've done just that.

Prior to the season, Thompson was Texas' No. 2 prospect (No. 43 overall), Alfaro was their No. 3 (No. 67 overall), and Williams was No. 5. And while the midseason rankings saw Thompson drop a few spots (No. 49), a collection of talent that featurs one Top 50 pick and three in the Top 100 is a pretty good way to start the rebuilding process.

Of course, none of these players is the slam-dunk, sure-fire Major League prospect the Phils said they wanted. But it became clear that type of player wasn't going to be made available, so the Phillies switched gears and decided to ask for more prospects.

Thompson is just 21-years-old and has spent this season in Double-A where he has gone 6-6 with a 4.72 ERA in 87 2/3 innings, with 78 strikeouts and 30 walks, with a WHIP of 1.414.

Here is MLB.com's scouting report on Thompson:

Thompson usually throws his fastball at 90-93 mph, peaking at 95 and featuring sinking life. That's not even his best weapon, however, as that distinction belongs to a slider that can reach 87 mph with depth and qualify as a true wipeout pitch at times. He also uses a curveball and changeup, both of which show flashes of becoming solid-or-better offerings.

Thompson has a classic starter's build that should give him durability and allows him to pitch on a tough downhill plane. He throws a decent amount of strikes but still is refining his command. He's a good bet to become a No. 3 starter and has a chance to become a No. 2.

Outfielder Nick Williams doesn't have the pedigree or hype that Nomar Mazara, the team's No. 2 prospect, has, but has had a fine season in Double-A himself this season. He's also just 21, and in 412 plate appearances this year has hit .300/.357/.480 for an OPS of .837, with 13 home runs and 21 doubles.

Here is MLB.com's scouting report on Williams:

Williams' lightning-fast hands and his strength allow him to drive almost any pitch he can reach. After swinging at just about every pitch that didn't bounce -- and some that did -- during his first three pro seasons, he has made impressive strides with his plate discipline in 2015. With moderate patience, he could be a force at the plate when he reaches the big leagues.

Williams has solid speed, though he doesn't always get the most out of it on the bases and in the field. He runs and throws well enough to play all three outfield positions but has spent most of his pro career in left field.

And here's a look at some tape:

Catcher Jorge Alfaro has been injured and will not play again this season, but is the type of hard-hitting backstop the Phillies had been seeking from multiple trade partners over the last year. Before he got hurt, he hit .253/.314/.432, and an OPS of .746, with five homers and 15 doubles in 207 PAs.

More from MLB.com on Alfaro:

He has the best combination of raw power and pure arm strength among Minor League catchers, though he's still polishing those tools and the other aspects of his game. Unfortunately for him, his 2015 season was put on hold when he underwent surgery on his left ankle in June.

Alfaro has the strength and bat speed to drive balls out of any part of any ballpark without selling out for power, yet he's still overly aggressive at the plate. He swings and misses frequently, and he needs to do a better job of taking pitches and recognizing breaking balls. If he figures it out, he could be an average hitter with 20-plus homers per season at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

Similarly, he has a cannon arm and good athleticism for a catcher but needs a lot of refinement behind the plate. He threw out just 28 percent of basestealers and committed 23 passed balls in 90 games in 2014. Though the Rangers have experimented with Alfaro at first base and in the outfield, they're not giving up on the idea that he can become an All-Star catcher.

Let's all watch a catcher go deep.

MLB.com had Jerad Eickhoff as the team's No. 17 prospect. In 17 starts at Triple-A, he is 8-4 with a 4.47 ERA in 16 starts (17 games).

Strong and physical, Eickhoff has a 91-95 mph fastball that touches 97. He complements it with a hard curveball that gives him a second plus pitch at times, as well as a slider that can be a solid offering. He throws strikes and uses his 6-foot-4 frame to pitch on a downhill plane.

If Eickhoff can improve his changeup and command, he could be a workhorse No. 3 starter. If not, he could be a late-inning reliever whose pitches should feature more power in shorter stints.

Right-hander Alec Asher is Texas' No. 29 prospect, according to MLB.com, posting a 4.43 ERA across Double and Triple-A this year.

Asher can reach 96 mph with his fastball and back it up with a hard slider at his best, but his stuff dipped somewhat in 2014. He worked mostly at 89-93 mph with an average slider. His changeup remained a reliable third pitch and he continued to use a curveball to give hitters a different look.

Asher employs an easy delivery that results in some of the best control and command among Texas' starting pitching prospects. He lacks a true plus pitch but has consistently performed and could end up as an innings-eating mid-rotation starter.

And then there is Major Leaguer Matt Harrison, who seems like an odd duck in this group. He was an All Star in 2012 when he went 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA 32 starts, finishing eighth in the Cy Young voting. However, back problems limited him to just two starts in 2013, four starts in '14 and three starts so far this year.

He's also owed $13.2 million each next season and in 2017, with a $2 million buyout in 2018. However, the Phils needed a Major League arm to take Hamels' spot in the rotation, and the $26.4 million the Phillies are on the hook for is likely better than just sending the cash to Texas for nothing in return.

Folks, this is a monster of a deal. And with Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco in the Majors now, J.P. Crawford and Cornelius Randolph doing well in the minors, the inside track on the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft and this haul from a stacked Texas Rangers farm system, perhaps president Andy MacPhail was right not to put a timetable on the Phils' return to contention.

As for the dearly departed, Cole Hamels will go down as one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history. Goodbye, Cole. We will miss you terribly.