When the Hamels Deal Will Get Done

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Hamels (35) deal would be the biggest in setting up the Phillies for the future. The team must get it right, or not do it.

(Photo Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)

In reading along my Twitter feed, following comments on Facebook, and in fielding questions via DM and email, the question keeps popping up, now with a bit more regularity: when are the Phillies going to trade Cole Hamels?

There is really a very simple answer to that question, though I doubt that it will be satisfactory to everyone. That simple answer is: when someone meets the admittedly and deservedly high price for his services.

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The Phillies are very publicly involved in rebuilding their team, so that high price will be in quality prospects. Not just one prospect, but multiples. A team who wants Hamels should expect to pay with two of their very best prospects, as well as another 1-2 possible mid-level prospects tossed in for good measure.

Before we examine the possible trade partners, and some prospects who should be involved in any discussions, let’s take a look at what the acquiring team will receive.

Cole Hamels is a 31-year old, left-handed, 9-year veteran of MLB. He has made at least 30 starts in the last 7 consecutive seasons. He has just one season (2009) in which he has allowed more hits than innings pitched. He has struck out at least 194 batters in 6 of the last 7 seasons. In the current season he is 5-5 for the worst team in baseball, with 70 hits allowed in 87.1 innings, and a 91-30 K:BB ratio.

Also, Hamels is payroll certainty. He is signed through 2018 at $23.5 million per season, with a team option for 2019 at $20 million even. So an acquiring team has an ace for at least four more years beyond the current season, at current day rates. With a number of big name free agents pitchers hitting the market this off-season, the cost of such a player is sure to skyrocket. All that, and the Phillies have said they would pay part, most, or all of the contract, depending on the return package.

With all that in mind, we’re back to “but when will he be traded?” The answer is, he may not be. Or the answer is, in the next few days. Or the answer is, in a month or so. Again, the bottom line answer, if you didn’t get it earlier, is this: when someone meets the admittedly and deservedly high price for his services.

Let’s flip through a slide show to take a look at some of the obvious and rumored potential suitors, and what they might have to offer (alphabetical by organization): I left out teams like the Tigers, Yankees, Royals, and 1-2 others simply because I don’t think they have the pieces to get it done.