The Phillies should not trade Zack Wheeler the way they did Cole Hamels
The Cole Hamels trade in 2015 is a perfect example of a superstar player trade that didn’t pan out, though they rarely.
At the time, the 31-year-old Hamels had been with the Phillies for a decade and had a 3.30 ERA over 295 games. He’d been a three-time All-Star and helped the club win five consecutive division titles and their second championship in franchise history, for which he’d won World Series MVP.
Less than a week after he pitched a no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs, the Phillies traded Hamels to the Texas Rangers along with Jake Diekman. In return, they received Matt Harrison, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Jake Thomspon, Alec Asher, and Jerad Eickhoff.
Harrison never threw a pitch for the Phillies, Williams was DFA’d in 2020, Alfaro was part of the Realmuto trade, Thompson was DFA’d in 2018 and is now playing in Mexico, Asher tested positive for PEDs in 2016 and was traded to the Orioles the following year. Eickhoff lasted the longest with the Phillies, making his big-league debut in August 2015, and pitching for them through 2019.
Meanwhile, Hamels helped the Rangers win the AL West for the third time in six years, and went on to have another All-Star season in Texas in 2016.
Trades that involve a superstar and a pile of prospects rarely pan out for the side receiving the prospects, because so many prospects never reach the big leagues at all.
The Phillies should not trade Wheeler or Harper for a bundle of prospects
The sad truth is that most minor leaguers will never make it to the majors, many for reasons beyond their control, though that is a separate conversation. In 2014, Mother Jones reported that only approximately 10% of MLB prospects make it to the big show. So, to trade away Harper and Wheeler
Instead, it’s time for the Phillies to cut a lot of dead weight and start spending money. They announced around the trade deadline that they were willing to go over the luxury tax threshold for the first time in franchise history, but then they played it safe. Between the money that comes off the books this winter and these very stars, the Phillies should be poised to spend big.