Why does Cole Hamels’ name keep surfacing in trade rumors and why would the San Francisco Giants care one way of another, if it were? Hamels is only two years into a six year, 144 million dollar extension, coincidentally, the exact figure and length of time I was just prattling on about, Wednesday, when I wrote about Max Scherzer.
Again, if Hamels is currently signed to a long-term contract, at 24 mil per season, why does his name keep popping up in connection with teams seeking starting pitching? The answer is diabolically simple: GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. has made it clear that the aging lineup that the Phils have been trotting out onto the field, “is not getting it done,” according to Amaro, and he means to rebuild.
Now Hamels can see the writing on the wall, clearly, having been in the business long enough to know that a complete retooling takes more time than he realistically has left on his contract, before success once again returns to Philadelphia. Unless he wants to be part of the undercarriage, upon which the rest of the team will be built, Hamels needs to pack his bags and hook up with a contender.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale did a great job of providing a simple explanation for what is happening in Philly.
Rebuilding teams have been known to jettison marquee players commanding huge salaries.
He wrote that Cole Hamels signed the extension because Hamels firmly believed that the Phillies would contend through the duration of those six years. Now with Amaro going on record as saying the starting lineup is simply not getting it done, the reconstruction of the Phils has begun.
Nightengale goes on to say that Hamels would never complain and would never ask for a trade, but that he would not object-terribly-if he were traded to a contender, and that’s where the Giants come into play. San Francisco is a contender, in need of a fifth starter, and Cole Hamels would would complement Madison Bumgarner, as the second southpaw, making for a deadly one-two knockout punch.
Oct 31, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner waves to the crowd during the World Series victory parade on Market Street. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Now, mind you, the Giants themselves have not been mentioned at any time, primarily because they are not among the chosen few, for whom Hamels will play. He has a no-trade clause for all but seven teams, five in the National League, and two in the Junior Circuit, with San Francisco not being on the list.
Nightengale has a response for this also, suggesting that if Amaro thought a deal could be made with a team not on the allowable list, that palms could be greased and progress would proceed, thereby rendering moot, the point that San Francisco was on the no-trade list.
Would that then mean that San Francisco might go after Hamels? Again, Nightengale points out that unlike pursuing a free agent, which at most would cost a compensatory draft pick, acquiring Hamels would cost not only 24 million per year, but a passel of prospects to help Amaro in his rebuilding project.
The Giants have a history of hanging onto their prospects, and Brian Sabean is elbows-deep in the Pablo Sandoval sideshow, so it is highly unlikely that this particular dream will come to fruition.
Fortunately, Giants fans are still groggy from their last dream-come-true, which resulted in their third World Series title in five years.
Oct 31, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; The San Francisco Giants team poses for photos during the World Series celebration at City Hall. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals in game seven of the World Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports