MLB Trade Talk: Latest Buzz Surrounding Cole Hamels

July 16, 2015 by Daniel Ferrara  
Filed under Fan News

With the MLB All-Star break coming to a close and the trade deadline quickly approaching, there has recently been a lot of trade talk surrounding Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels.

Hamels' name has been thrown around in trade rumors for what seems like years now, but with the Phillies currently a league-worst 29-62, the time to trade Hamels appears to be right now. With the addition of the second wild card and the parity that is plaguing baseball, there may be more buyers at the deadline than in recent seasons. 

CSNPhilly.com's Corey Seidman speculates that the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers, Angels, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Orioles and Astros are all potential suitors for Hamels.

Hamels, who is due $70.5 million over the next three seasons after 2015, also has a team option of $20 million in 2019. Although the ability to potentially control Hamels through 2019 appears to be a positive, Seidman reported the opposite.  

"Whether or not it's posturing, these clubs have at least so far been hesitant to trade impact prospects and take on Hamels' hefty salary," wrote Seidman. "It's silly, though, because Hamels' remaining contract is about half of what it would cost to sign David Price or [Johnny] Cueto this offseason." 

Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports echoed Seidman's optimism regarding Hamels and made a case why teams should attempt to land the lefty. 

"He’s not just a second-half pickup," Gleeman wrote. "Hamels would anchor a rotation for three-and-a-half seasons and that’s nearly impossible to acquire via free agency without making a $100 million-plus commitment."

Still, some Phillies fans just want to see Hamels gone so they can start their long, overdue rebuilding process. The Phillies will likely miss the postseason for the fourth consecutive season and appear headed to their second straight last-place finish in the National League East. 

Hamels has struggled of late, prompting some to believe that his trade value is plummeting. He gave up a season-high nine runs against the Giants in his final start before the All-Star break, raising his season ERA to 3.63. 

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has made curious decisions and comments over the past few seasons, prompting him to fall out of favor among the fans. So much so that someone is offering their first-born child in exchange for his firing:

The Phillies are a mess and badly need to have a fire sale. Hamels is undoubtedly their best trade chip and would garner the best package from a contender. If they could land a few prospects in exchange for their 31-year-old ace, who is seemingly rotting away on an awful team, they could have a chance to start trending in a positive direction in 2016.

Bob Brookover of Philly.com noted that a potential trade of Hamels may be the only thing left for Phillies fans to look forward to in 2015. 

"The package the Phillies get in return for Hamels will be the most interesting thing that happens between now and the Oct. 4 season finale against the Miami Marlins," he wrote.

The Phillies need to let 2015 be their rock bottom. The best way to do that is to trade away their veterans, get younger and free up some money. Dealing Hamels would be the first step toward accomplishing those goals.

After all, it's improbable that the Phillies will be able to build around Hamels anyway. It will be interesting to see if Amaro pulls the trigger and finally kick-starts the painful rebuild over the coming weeks leading up to the trade deadline. 

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Philadelphia Phillies Trade Rumors: Tracking Hot Updates, News and Reaction

July 15, 2015 by Kyle Newport  
Filed under Fan News

The Philadelphia Phillies, with a 29-62 record, are one of the few teams in Major League Baseball firmly out of contention, so they could look to deal some of their veteran players in hopes of building for the future.

While fans never want to have a losing season, being one of the only legitimate sellers in the league is a powerful thing. Philadelphia has some attractive assets, and with many teams looking to improve for a potential postseason run, the Phillies have the ability to control the market.

The Phillies front office will have to decide just how committed they are to dealing certain players. The club's high asking prices have scared other teams off in recent years, but now that it has a chance to conduct a bidding war, it may be more willing to deal.

Keep coming back throughout July to see what rumors the Phillies are involved in and what deals they make before the July 31 trade deadline passes.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies Set Franchise Record with 62 Losses Before All-Star Break

July 14, 2015 by Bleacher Report Milestones  
Filed under Fan News

The Philadelphia Phillies set an unwanted record during the season's first half, losing 62 games before the All-Star break for the first time in franchise history, per Sportsnet Stats.

Although there was no expectation of the team being competitive this season, the Phillies have arguably still been somewhat disappointing, as they're in a league of their own when it comes to futility.

Sitting at 29-62 through 91 games, the Phillies have a miserable .319 winning percentage, putting them more than 100 percentage points below MLB's second-worst team, the 38-52 Milwaukee Brewers (.422).

The Phillies have scored a National League-worst 309 runs and allowed an MLB-high 468 runs. Only the Chicago White Sox have plated fewer runs, and even the Colorado Rockies—who play at Coors Field—have surrendered fewer.

The White Sox have MLB's second-worst run differential at minus-73, while the Phillies have more than doubled the negative output, sitting at minus-160 heading into the second half.

They aren't just the worst team this season, but possibly the worst team MLB has seen since the 2003 Detroit Tigers finished 43-119 for a .265 winning percentage.

And the franchise already has 14 100-loss seasons in its largely woeful history, having reached that mark in 1904, 1921, 1923, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1936, five consecutive seasons from 1938 to 1942, 1945 and 1961.

With the team presumably trying to trade the few veteran players it still has left, the Phillies are all but guaranteed to finish with baseball's worst record and a 100-loss season.

If not for the strong performance of rookie third baseman Maikel Franco, it would truly be a lost season.

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Why the Los Angeles Dodgers Are the Best Team for Cole Hamels

July 8, 2015 by Dan Servodidio  
Filed under Fan News

It's only fitting that a player whom his teammates call "Hollywood" will wind up in Los Angeles. 

Cole Hamels, the Philadelphia Phillies' ace pitcher and one of the biggest names on the trade market, is a near-lock to be moved by MLB's July 31 trade deadline. The only question is where the former World Series MVP will finish his season. 

The Dodgers represent the best possible marriage: Hamels, a Southern California native, and a first-place club. 

Already armed with a rotation featuring two former Cy Young Award winners in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, Los Angeles is reportedly seeking starting pitching depth for the latter part of this season. 

Hamels' 3.02 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 113.1 innings pitched this year look mighty attractive compared to what the Dodgers have dealt with. 

Outside of Kershaw and Greinke, the the team's starting rotation has been a trainwreck. Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy both suffered season-ending injuries and their replacements haven't been much better. Second-year man Mike Bolsinger owns a 4.79 ERA over his last five starts, and Carlos Frias had a 5.40 ERA in his eight previous outings before hitting the disabled list himself. 

ESPN.com's Anthony Witrado offered some insight into the Dodgers' rotation woes: 

President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi are presumably active on the pitching trade market, but until they pull the trigger on their first in-season blockbuster move, the Dodgers have to solve their back-end rotation problems.

That could mean Brandon Beachy, coming off two Tommy John surgeries, is brought into the fold. 

When your answer is a guy who hasn't pitched in an MLB game since 2013, you might have a problem. 

Enter Hamels, a quick-fix solution for Los Angeles—a franchise five games up on the defending champion San Francisco Giants and looking to win the tough National League West for a third-straight year. 

Coincidentally, Hamels, who's played the entirety of his 10-year career in Philadelphia, openly wants to pitch for a contender in the future, via Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports:

"I just want to win,'' Hamels told USA TODAY Sports in his first interview since the end of the 2014 season. "That's all. That's all any competitor wants.

"And I know it's not going to happen here.

"This isn't what I expected. It's not what the Phillies expected, either.

"But it's reality.''

Hamels' 5-6 record through 17 starts is evidence to that. The Phillies' offense has failed to score in eight of those outings. 

In fact, Philadelphia gives its best starting pitcher the worst run support—2.39 runs per start—among all 96 qualified starters in the entire MLB this season. 

It's no wonder Hamels wants out, especially after team president Pat Gillick recently admitted the franchise will be in rebuilding mode until at least 2018. 

Los Angeles, meanwhile, provides more than enough run support for its starters. In 2015, its offense ranks fourth in the NL in runs scored (355), first in home runs (106) and first in wins above replacement (16.7). 

The expensive value of Hamels' current contract, though, remains one of the biggest issues for Philadelphia in moving the three-time All-Star. 

Earning $23.5 million this season, the left-hander is owed $67.5 million more over the following three years with a club option of an additional $20 million in 2019.

Although the Phillies are open to eating most of Hamels' remaining salary, according to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, the Dodgers can easily cover the balance when compared to other franchises. 

The team entered this season with the league's highest payroll at over $272 million, making them no stranger to spending in order to improve their roster. 

After dishing out expensive contracts in the past to Kershaw, Greinke, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, it's reasonable to suggest the Dodgers are more than willing to pay the price for another star.  

Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies' franchise hit-leader who was traded to the Dodgers in December, recently spoke about a possible reunion with Hamels in Los Angeles, via CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury

“That would be nice,” he said. “That would be nice. Cole would be close to home. We know what type of pitcher he is, especially in big games. He wants those games. You have two big-game pitchers that are already here, so that would be three, and that's one heck of a combination."

Of course there are other possible destinations for Hamels, including Texas, Chicago, Houston, Toronto and New York among others. 

However, these clubs—all contenders in their own right—aren't as good a fit as Los Angeles for a pitcher desperate to leave town. 

Either way, Hamels Watch 2015 is in full effect this month as the baseball world waits for Philadelphia's impending deal. 

 

 

Dan is a featured writer for B/R's Advanced Program in Sports Media. You can follow him @dan_servodidio. He also thinks Hamels should have been traded years ago. 

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Andy MacPhail Should Make the Philadelphia Phillies Contenders Again

July 2, 2015 by Dan Servodidio  
Filed under Fan News

When Andy MacPhail was introduced Monday as the Philadelphia Phillies' next president of baseball operations, the 62-year-old executive knew what he was getting into. A former general manager of the Minnesota Twins and president of the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles, MacPhail is no stranger to rebuilding efforts. 

At the beginning of next season, the veteran executive will be tasked with just that as he inherits a Phillies team with the worst record in Major League Baseball (27-53) in the midst of its fourth straight year missing the postseason. 

Although he will serve as a "special assistant" to current team president Pat Gillick for the next three months, MacPhail will assume control of the organization at the season's end. 

If the Phillies want to get back to their winning ways that saw five consecutive National League East crowns from 2007 to 2011 and a franchise-record 102 wins in the latter year, there might not be a better man for the job than MacPhail, whose resume includes three decades' worth of rebuilding experience. 

MacPhail took over as the Twins' GM in 1985 and promptly built a national contender that would win World Series titles in 1987, their first in 63 years, and 1991. 

Next it was on to Chicago where, in 1994 as president and CEO of the Cubs, he took over a historically cursed franchise—one run so poorly that Greg Maddux left in free agency and Ryne Sandberg retired midseason before MacPhail could do anything about it. 

In 2003, his construction was rewarded when the Cubs won their first postseason series since the infamous 1908 World Series and came a Steve Bartman interference away from reaching the Fall Classic. 

MacPhail then went to Baltimore, serving as team president from 2007 to 2011, where he helped plant the seeds to national contention though smart trades and a specific attention to sabermetrics. In 2012, the Orioles reached the playoffs after 14 straight losing seasons in the vaunted AL East. 

In each of his three previous stints in the league, MacPhail had to take over franchises that had become baseball's bottom-feeders and turn them into title contenders. When it comes to the Phillies' situation, he's been there and done that. 

Monday's introductory press conference saw Phillies co-owner John Middleton stress the importance of MacPhail's embrace to analytics and sabermetrics in rebuilding an MLB team, something that the organization, led by current Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro Jr., has notoriously ignored

MacPhail was vehement about his approach to the new age of baseball scouting and development, via CSN Philly's Corey Seidman:

I can assure you, as you probably already know, sabermetrics is something of intense interest to ownership. When it comes to that sort of thing, I believe you look at everything, absolutely everything. Why would you exclude any information? You're gonna try to do every piece of homework you can to push the odds of being successful in your favor — every stat, every formula.

This is a tactic the Phillies haven't warmed up to yet. In an ESPN feature this past February, the franchise was 122nd, dead last, in a ranking of every team in the four major sports based on strength and commitment to analytics. 

MacPhail believes it's important to combine the scouting and league experience he has with the revolutionary analytics-driven statistics of the MLB today, via Seidman: 

I think it's absolutely essential that you marry [sabermetrics] with the best human intelligence you can. Bodies change, weaknesses get exposed and then they get exploited. People make adjustments. Maybe they can hit a curveball that they couldn't a year ago. You need to look at every single facet when you're making player evaluations. No stone goes unturned.

Many Philadelphia-area fans and media members know all too well what MacPhail is talking about. A little less than a decade ago, first baseman Ryan Howard slugged a league-leading 58 home runs and 149 RBI en route to NL MVP honors in just his second full season in the majors. 

Last season, a 34-year-old Howard hit just .223 with 23 homers and an MLB-high 190 strikeouts. Talk about bodies changing and weaknesses getting exposed. 

MacPhail has a lot to address and evaluate in these next three months in all facets of team personnel. With Amaro's contract expiring at the season's end and following Sandberg's recent resignation, the Phillies' new president could bring in a new GM and manager to lead the 2016 Phillies. 

The players are a whole other issue. 

The combination of aging veterans (Howard, second baseman Chase Utley and catcher Carlos Ruiz) and potential trade bait (starting pitcher Cole Hamels and closer Jonathan Papelbon) pose MacPhail with the challenge of rebuilding a core of a team that wants to desperately contend again. 

As we saw in Minnesota, Chicago and Baltimore, though, this is no large task for one Andy MacPhail. He's done it with three other franchises in three separate decades, and Philadelphia is just his latest project. 

 

Dan is a featured writer in B/R's Advanced Program in Sports Media. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_servodidio. He also thinks the Phillies are desperate for help. 

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