Toronto Blue Jays Reportedly Interested In Trading For Cole Hamels
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX SPORTS, the Toronto Blue Jays have engaged in dialogue with the Philadelphia Phillies, concerning a trade for left-handed pitcher, Cole Hamels. No trade is close, or even likely, says Rosenthal. Still, the possibility of Cole Hamels playing in Toronto could be the start of a possible powerhouse north of the border. It also could indicate the first domino of declination in Philadelphia and a slight rebuilding mode with aging players, but also the acquisitions of young players for the future. Philadelphia will not trade Hamels unless they are fairly out of the playoff race in mid to late July, and aren’t on the same page as him yet on a contract extension, and receive a great offer by someone for Hamels.
Again, no trade is even close to happening. Quite a few things have to happen for the Phillies to trade Hamels to the Blue Jays, or any team for that matter. Philadelphia has to be out of the playoff race by a fair margin, possibly 10+ games, and have to think a trade would be for the better of the team and get a great offer. Also, if the Blue Jays are a serious pursuer, they have to evaluate the team they currently have, sit down and believe they can make a playoff run this year, and see what their AL East competition is doing at the time. If they are within 8 games, and no one is running away with the division, then maybe they make the deal. If they aren’t within striking distance no more, like they are now, then maybe they keep their prospects and make a run at Hamels in free agency, if he does indeed hit the open market. Keith Law ranked the Blue Jays farm system third in baseball before this season started, so they can make any deal they want.
If I’m the Blue Jays, I think it’s a no brainer to make a deal for Hamels, if indeed the Phillies are willing to trade him. They also need to get insurance from Hamels that he’ll sign a long-term deal with them. I wouldn’t be comfortable with trading a boatload of prospects for Hamels and aren’t sure he’ll stay in Toronto. A pitcher like Hamels will cost three top flight prospects, at least, and you make the deal as long as he stays long-term, if not, wait and hope he picks you in free agency. If that doesn’t work out, then sign someone else or wait to see what other top flight pitchers may become available via trade.
Just imagine a team with Cole Hamels, Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, and Kyle Drabek in the starting rotation. Not only is that a promising, all of a sudden top 10, maybe even top five rotation, but you also got the two-time reigning home run champion Jose Bautista, up and coming star third baseman Brett Lawrie, and home run mashing catcher J.P. Arencibia in the lineup. If you add a bat or two, like a speedster and .300 type hitter to the lineup, it is definitely a championship contender. Adding Cole Hamels, whether it be by a trade or free agency, makes the Blue Jays a serious playoff contender, even in the competitive and crowded AL East, and is the first step towards building a championship caliber team.
The Blue Jays better hope the Phillies keep floundering in the NL playoff race, or hope they can outbid many other teams in free agency if Hamels reaches the open market. The bad part about Hamels reaching free agency possibly, is that the Blue Jays would possibly have to outbid the New York Yankees, Boston Redsox, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers. All teams have deep pockets, and could use pitching help, especially the division rival Yankees and Redsox, and the Cubs and Dodgers. Many baseball people already think the Dodgers will be a major player for Hamels in free agency and pair him with Clayton Kershaw in the LA rotation. They have money now with new owners, so it’s not out of the question whatsoever. The Yankees have a couple of top flight pitching prospects on the fringe of the majors, and they have to pay Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson soon, so that might hurt their chances at throwing a huge offer at Hamels. The Redsox already have huge contracts on their roster and need to pay Jacoby Ellsbury and Andrew Bailey, so that might keep them out. The Rangers have to re-sign Josh Hamilton this winter, and he may take on $200 or so million, plus Colby Lewis is due soon too, so that could hurt the Rangers chances as well. The Tigers have the big contracts of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, and Justin Verlander still on the payroll, and will be looking for a new closer, so maybe they stop spending so much for a little while. The Cubs have just one huge contract on their payroll and its the 8 year, $136 million contract of Alfonso Soriano. That contract expires after the 2014 season. The Cubs have a $109 million payroll, but other than Soriano, pitcher Ryan Dempster, and closer Carlos Marmol’s contracts, it’s a team filled with one year deals. So I think the Cubs may be a serious contender for Hamels, if the new owners want to make their first big deal. I think this could very well come down to the Cubs, Dodgers, and Blue Jays, but you absolutely can’t count out the Yankees, Redsox, and Phillies.
So if I’m the Blue Jays, and I want to compete finally again, I go hard for Cole Hamels. When you can get a 28-year-old ace pitcher in his prime, you go for it, especially since you haven’t been to the playoffs since 1993. If you’re the Blue Jays, you must also be tired of being beat up and bullied by the Yankees and Redsox, and should start to be the new bully and beat them up in the division. Adding Hamels to this already promising staff will finally get people’s eyes on Toronto as a contender, and a definite threat to win the AL East.