Ruben Amaro Jr. has not had the misfortune of being a seller in his three years as the Phillies general manager. He was known as a buyer at the end of July, so that he would give his team a better chance to win in the playoffs.
This year is going to be a different story. The Phillies have no shot of making the playoffs in October. They are not good enough to make a run, especially with their lousy bullpen. That means several players are going to be traded by the trade deadline.
Cole Hamels could be the guy that other teams want, and the Phillies may be forced to trade him if they can’t reach an agreement with him between now and the trade deadline. The team is making an effort to get their ace signed by offering him $130 million over six years according to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, but there are no guarantees he will accept it. If he does not, there is a 50/50 chance he will be traded by the trading deadline. It would be unfortunate if he pitched his final home game ever as a Phillie yesterday afternoon.
The Phillies shouldn’t trade Hamels. It’s hard to think they are going to get much for him, and Amaro is not a good talent evaluator to figure out what young players are good enough to get for their ace. Left-handed pitchers like him are hard to find.
It’s remarkable how the Phillies put themselves in that position by not having a sense of urgency to sign Hamels this offseason. Had they offered that contract to him in the offseason, he would have likely accepted it. That may not be enough now. He wants the opportunity to test the market and see what teams will pony up for his services. It’s something he wants to experience for the first time in his career.
No one can blame the lefty. He waited a long time for this. He has done a good job of pitching well in his contract year, and he has put himself in a position to see how much he is worth in the open market. The team is understandably nervous that it may not end well for them.
Still, trading him would send the wrong message if he rejects the contract. It would upset the fans as they will think the franchise is back to being cheap. It would give the perception that the team will eventually not pay the price to continue to keep their homegrown players. The repercussions are going to be too much for the Phillies to bear.
Even if the Phillies gamble by trading Hamels with the idea they can sign him as a free agent, it’s a risky proposition. There is a great chance he is going to stay with the Rangers or the Angels if he is traded to either team. He knows he can win many more championships by staying with either of those teams that he may be traded to. Also, he has been known to have interest in playing in Southern California, so that could convince him to stay with the Angels.
By not trading Hamels, it would send him a message that they are committed to signing him long-term. It would show they are going to do this in good faith. It’s the right thing to do.
The Phillies have a good chance to keep the southpaw. They are willing to pay him the money. For them, it’s about the years. They are going to go for six years based on the recent offer, which is something they didn’t want to do. They know they had to give him many years for them to keep his services.
It’s hard to believe the Phillies are going to let the Dodgers or Angels outbid them. For all the talk about couple of Southern California baseball teams having all the money, they also have a budget like any other teams. We are not talking about the Yankees with either team.
This is not going to be about the money as the Phillies are loaded with cash. It’s going to be how many years they can go. When all is said and done, they will give him the seven years.
The Phillies are going to have to trade Cliff Lee for them to have financial relief. They are not going to use their payroll for the starting rotation and not fill other needs, so it makes sense to trade him. They can also trade other expensive players on the team.
Hamels is one guy the team can’t afford to let go. They need to make an effort to keep him even if they can’t get it done in the deadline. It’s not going to be doom and gloom if they don’t sign him in two weeks.
It’s a risk the Phillies have to take. If worse comes to worst, they can always get the two draft picks if Hamels leave as a free agent. Teams have managed to do well by getting draft picks even if their player leaves for free agency.
If anything else, they can show the fans that they tried to keep Hamels. That is better than just giving up on signing him.