Rangers, Dodgers, Red Sox Still in on Cole Hamels
By David Mullen
The off-season continues, and so do the Phillies trade rumors. Yesterday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that up to six teams are still attempting to obtain ace Cole Hamels. However, the story has been the same all off-season. General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is asking for too much, according to other front office executives.
For example, the Phillies have asked for catching prospect Blake Swihart in exchange for Hamels. Swihart is the Red Sox’ number one prospect and arguably the best catching prospect in all of Major League Baseball.
Bob Nightengale has 5-6 teams in on Hamels
Of the five teams that have been named as potential suitors for Hamels, the Rangers and Dodgers stick out amongst the group that includes the Padres and the aforementioned Red Sox.
The Rangers and Dodgers have a plethora of young talent in their minor league system and they have General Managers that are not afraid to trade away some of their better prospects for an established ace such as Hamels.
One of the packages from the Rangers could revolve around their top catching prospect, Jorge Alfaro. Alfaro will not turn 22 until June and saw time at Double-A in 2014. Although his defense, at this point, is a liability, he could be a very good replacement for catcher Carlos Ruiz in two years.
The Dodgers package could revolve around outfield prospect Joc Pederson. At 22, Pederson was named the most exciting player by Baseball America in the Pacific Coast League. The Dodgers may be less willing to trade him than they were at the beginning of the off-season due to Matt Kemp’s departure.
If Pederson is unavailable, Amaro Jr. needs to take his shot at a package that includes pitchers Julio Urias, Grant Holmes, and a combination of low-level, high-ceiling position players.
At the end of the day, Amaro Jr. may be asking for too much but the reality is that he’s extremely stubborn. It’s a new era of baseball and Amaro Jr. has yet to catch up. He needs to get creative with his trade requests. Instead of asking for a team’s top prospect, which obviously has led to dead ends, he needs to come up with a package of top 10 prospects to acquire.
As it stands, the Phillies organization is low on talented minor league depth and the major league team is not winning anytime soon. It is imperative for Amaro Jr. to trade Hamels this off-season for a packaged deal of high-end prospects.