Sep 29, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA;Texas Rangers starting pitcher Hamels (35) shakes hands with manager
(Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
2. EVERYTHING BIGGER IN TEXAS
That’s the old saying anyway, that they “grow everything bigger in Texas!” Well that apparently applies to baseball trades too. A pair of trades with baseball’s two Texas teams were major signals that the Phillies were turning the page, and brought in a host of new assets to help the rebuild.
First came the Cole Hamels trade at this past summer’s deadline. The Phillies sent their former lefty ace, the man who was the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP, to the Texas Rangers along with lefty reliever Jake Diekman.
In exchange, the Phils received a six-player/prospect package made up of injured big league pitcher Matt Harrison, prospect pitchers Jake Thompson, Alec Asher, and Jerad Eickhoff, prospect outfielder Nick Williams, and the game’s top catching prospect, Jorge Alfaro.
Then on December 12th, after days of speculation and rumored names, the Phillies trade of closer Ken Giles to the Houston Astros became official, which included prospect infielder Jonathan Arauz going in the deal to Houston.
Coming back to the Phillies were another five pitching prospects: Vincent Velasquez, Mark Appel, Brett Oberholtzer, Thomas Eshelman, and Harold Arauz. Appel was the top overall pick in the entire MLB Amateur Draft just a few years ago, and Velasquez is also a highly rated prospect, while the others will at least have a chance to contribute.
So in two deals with Texas teams, the Phillies sent away Hamels, Diekman, and Giles and brought back 11 players, including nine pitchers. Trades may indeed be bigger when made with Texas, but also bigger now is the talent level of the Phils’ farm system. It is that young talent that will create the next winning Phillies team.
Next: 2015 Phillies Influential Moment #1: Middleton Takes Control