Phillies: Re-grading the Cole Hamels trade three years later

Have the Phillies come out on top in one of the franchise’s biggest trades?

Cole Hamels no-hitter against the Cubs in his final start for the Phillies before the trade deadline undoubtedly had an impact on his trade market. Dominating a lineup that would win the World Series three months later gave teams with playoff aspirations a craving for the undoubtable ace.

The deal was a painful one for the Phillies and their fans, but it ultimately kicked the rebuild into high-gear. Hamels carried the starting rotation throughout the 2008 playoffs and had won both NLCS and World Series MVP honors.

Here’s a reminder of the deal pulled off by Ruben Amaro Jr. just a couple months before his firing.

Phillies Get
Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher, Matt Harrison, Jake Thompson
Rangers Get
Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, cash

Harrison was only in the deal to counter the money owed in the Hamels deal, which had over $73 million remaining when the deal was made.

Jorge Alfaro looks to be headed in the right direction as the catcher of the future. He’s thrown out the most baserunners in the game and his ability to call a game has improved dramatically.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 21: Jorge Alfaro #38 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws the ball to first base to make the final out of the game on a ball hit by Ender Inciarte #11 of the Atlanta Braves as Hector Neris looks on on at Citizens Bank Park on May 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Braves 3-0. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Where Alfaro needs to improve is his pitch selection as a hitter, which is well documented. His power and bat speed are undeniably strong, but can he succeed with a .246 batting average and an 8:1 K/BB ratio?

With little catching depth in the organization, Alfaro will have every chance to be the starting catcher in Philadelphia for the next 10+ years.

Another player who could headline this deal is Nick Williams, who was touted as a solid four-tool player with some issues regarding his aggressiveness. None of that has been seen in Philadelphia, but his .238 batting average this season hasn’t been impressive.

He’s set himself as the everyday right fielder over Aaron Altherr after sitting on the bench early, but what’s his future beyond this season if Bryce Harper is a realistic option in free agency?

Jake Thompson is one of the organizations great disappointments and the largest bust in the last five years with the likes of Maikel Franco and Dom Brown. Once projected to be “a good bet to become a No. 3 starter and has a chance to become a No. 2.”

In 18 major league starts Thompson is 6-8 with a 4.64 ERA, 64 strikeouts, 46 walks, and 49 earned runs in 95 innings. As a reliever, his numbers aren’t much better with a 6.50 ERA in nine appearances.

Overall, Thompson has nearly allowed as many runs as a major league pitcher than recorded a strikeout. Unless he emerges as a reliable middle reliever soon, he could be a DFA or trade candidate this offseason.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 02: Pitcher Jerad Eickhoff #48 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after getting out of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants during a game at Citizens Bank Park on June 2, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Jerad Eickhoff is a major question, and perhaps the biggest question mark in this deal for the Phillies. After a strong 2016 season capped off with a team-high 11 wins, Eickhoff dealt with numbness and tingling in his pitching fingers.

Right now, it’s unknown if Eickhoff can return for this season as he deals with the injury and the setbacks that have hit him.

Asher had a rocky career with the Phillies that started with an 0-6 rookie season with a 9.31 ERA in seven starts. His 2.28 ERA in five starts the following season weren’t enough for the Phillies, who swapped him to Baltimore for a player to be named later or cash.

This season Asher has been on the Brewers and Dodgers as he tries to entrench himself with a major league team. He made one relief appearance for Milwaukee this year allowing no runs in two innings with two strikeouts.

How’d we grade out this deal? Considering they received potentially three major league starters, they graded out well.

COLE HAMELS TRADE

Philadelphia Phillies

B

The health of Eickhoff and the success of Williams could push this grade to a solid “A,” but the injuries and inconsistencies early on are disappointing.

Alfaro is the ultimate headliner in this deal, and getting a franchise catcher can’t be underrated. If Williams can return to being a .280 hitter with pop like last season and Eickhoff can return to 2016 form, the Phillies will be clear winners in this deal.

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