Even after bolstering their rotation with Scott Kazmir the Astros made a strong run at Cole Hamels, but a possible deal with Philadelphia came to a halt when Hamels used his no-trade rights to veto a potential move to Houston.
According to both Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com Hamels informed the Phillies at some point in the process that he would not accept a trade to the first-place Astros, causing them to focus on the eventual deal with the third-place Rangers.
Kazmir is merely a two-month rental for a team contending ahead of scheule, whereas the Astros no doubt liked the idea of being able to pair Hamels with Dallas Keuchel atop their rotation for several years of contending teams. It’s possible the Rangers’ offer would have topped the Astros’ offer anyway, but Houston’s involvement does signal that the Astros were willing to add significant salary now that they’re through the massive rebuild phase and firmly established as contenders.
Cole Hamels was scheduled to start Thursday night, but the Phillies announced that they’ve moved back his next turn in the rotation until Friday night. Atlanta would have been the opponent either way.
Friday afternoon is the trade deadline, so basically the Phillies didn’t want to risk Hamels getting hurt and/or struggling hours before the deadline to deal him. And if they don’t end up trading him, then he can take the mound Friday night after the dust settles.
Hamels threw a no-hitter against Cubs on Saturday following back-to-back rough starts in which he allowed 14 runs in 6.1 innings.
Where and for what has yet to be determined–the Nationals are said to be making a strong push, for instance–but Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies will trade closer Jonathan Papelbon prior to Friday’s deadline.
Papelbon has made it very clear that he wants out of Philadelphia, but is apparently unwilling to serve as a setup man on another team. Not coincidentally, his $13 million option for next season vests based on games finished, so his 2016 status revolves around whether he remains in the closer role down the stretch.
Washington has emerged as a potential landing spot, but Nationals closer Drew Storen has saved 29 games with a 1.73 ERA. Papelbon has been every bit as good, albeit in far fewer save chances thanks to the Phillies’ underwhelming supporting cast, saving 17 games with a 1.59 ERA.
There has been some buzz about the Yankees potentially targeting another late-inning relief arm in advance of next Friday’s trade deadline, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that the club has also called the Phillies to check in on left-handed starter Cole Hamels.
The Phillies are said to like prospect outfielder Aaron Judge. However, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is reluctant to give him up, as well as prospect first baseman Greg Bird and prospect right-hander Luis Severino. There might not be a match here, so perhaps this was just a matter of due diligence on the part of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
The Dodgers still look like the best match given their place in the standings, payroll, and need in their starting rotation, though the Rangers and Cubs have been mentioned as possibilities in recent days. Hamels is set to pitch against the Cubs this afternoon in what could very well be his final start as a member of the Phillies. As of now, the southpaw currently lines up to pitch next Thursday against the Braves, one day before the deadline.
What’s the latest with Jonathan Papelbon’s efforts to get out of Philadelphia and into a contending team’s bullpen?
Reports vary wildly, of course, but Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com says he’s “getting no sense the Phillies have any traction” on a Papelbon trade.
Why? Because, according to Crasnick, his $13 million vesting option for 2016 “remains a sticking point” for teams due to the Phillies apparently still refusing to cover it.
Papelbon has made it abundantly clear that he wants to be traded and this is the final guaranteed season of his contract, but based on games finished there’s a good chance the $13 million option would trigger for next season. And while he’s pitching at a very high level right now with a 1.72 ERA most teams are still not keen on having him on the books for that much.