“July is so far ahead,” Amaro said. “We just have to get on track. But if July comes and we’re playing like this, we’ll be sellers. How we play now will determine whether we’ll be buyers or sellers in July.”
It’s obvious that there is one player on the Phillies capable of getting Amaro a great return should they become sellers. Cole Hamels‘ contract ends after this season. If he is not traded, his contract will expire and the Phillies will get nothing in return. Thus, if the team is still tanking come July, it makes sense that they should get what they can for him.
Obviously this is all premature. With a pitching staff like the Phillies have, a winning streak could begin at any time. Then this discussion becomes irrelevant. For now it is still in play. This is a Yankees blog, so the most important question becomes whether or not the team should trade for Hamels should he become available.
Let me start by saying this; no extension, no trade. As much as Hamels could help the Yankees win this year, half of a season with Hamels is not worth five to six seasons with all of our top three to four prospects. Some may argue in the opposite direction, but this is my stance.
The picture gets cloudier if one assumes that the trade is contingent upon an extension being worked out, much like the Phillies did with Halladay a few years back.
There are many factors that will make this trade a winner or a loser. The most obvious factors are the extension and the personnel to be exchanged. One would have to believe that any conversation about Cole Hamels starts with Manny Banuelos. He is the best prospect in the system, and he has a chance to become what Cole Hamels already is. After that, pick two or three of the top six prospects in the system and kiss them goodbye. Names like Betances, Mason Williams, Dante Bichette Jr., Austin Romine, and Jose Campos would all be thrown around. It’s possible that Hughes could be brought into the fold as well.
Let’s take a look at what Hamels has done thus far in his career. He is 28 years old. He’s 6-foot-3, 200-pounds and he has been quite durable, never suffering a significant injury. His career ERA is 3.35, but over his last 472 IP, two seasons and seven starts in 2012, his ERA has been just 2.86. His career K/9 is 8.5, and has hovered consistently around that number for the past two seasons. He has excellent control, as he only walks 2.2 per nine innings for his career.
For those who prefer advanced statistics, his career FIP is 3.59, and BABIP is .281. His ground ball percentage is 42%, and his fly ball percentage is 38%, which is pretty solid and would play well in Yankee Stadium.
As far as the extension goes, Hamels currently wants seven years and is asking for circa $23 million per season. The question has to be asked about whether that number fits into the austerity budget. Assuming it does, this is still a ton of money to pay a guy for his 29-35 seasons.
In this trade we’d be giving up prospects and cap space, edging the team even closer to the salary cap threshold. If they can sign Hamels and still have space to re-sign Granderson and/or Martin (or a suitable replacement), then I say it’s close to a no-brainer. It becomes more difficult if giving Hamels an extension would seriously jeopardize those signings.
Another factor to think about is the right field situation. Domonic Brown and John Mayberry could be solid options for the Yankees in right field next season. My gut tells me that the Phillies will want to hang onto these guys considering how anemic their offense has been. If they are available, however, they could be the deciding factor in any trade.
There is also the question of whether it’s better to just wait and see if Hamels makes it to free agency. A valid argument can be made that this is the best method. It has been said before though that when you have the chance to obtain a pitcher of this magnitude, you do it. Waiting could result in another Cliff Lee scenario.
There are plenty of reasons to go after Hamels if he is to become available this Summer. He is the exact type of pitcher who will have success with the Yankees, or any team for that matter. The real question is not whether or not the Yankees should go after him, but how much they should be willing to give up.
I would hate to see Banuelos go, but if I’m given the option to make a deal with an extension stipulation for Cole Hamels, and all I have to give up is Banuelos, Hughes, and Nunez or some other prospect, I’d have a hard time saying no. This is especially true if you throw Domonic Brown or Cameron Maybin into the fold. It’s hard to believe that the price for Hamels would be that cheap though. The trade might have to include a Mason Williams type as well. I’d still do it.
It’s fun to dream about what future rotations could like like if the Yankees pulled off a trade of this magnitude. Sabathia, Hamels, Nova, Pineda, and blank for years to come looks pretty solid. They’d have all of those guys long term.
If Cashman has the opportunity to obtain Hamels without completely selling the farm and can build an extension guarantee into the trade, the Yankees should pull the trigger. As one of the more prospect minded bloggers out there, I think Cole Hamels is too good to pass up for players who may or may not succeed. Whether this fits into the Yankees financial plans remains to be seen, but if it does then Cashman should go after Hamels hard.