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Ruben Amaro

Both the Phillies and the Rangers did well in the Cole Hamels trade

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It’s a lot of fun to mock Ruben Amaro. To say that he should’ve started rebuilding two years ago, etc. etc. And there’s a lot of truth in such criticisms. But credit where it is due: Amaro did well in trading Cole Hamels to the Rangers yesterday.

To review, the Rangers got Hamels and pitcher Jake Diekman. The Phillies got the following prospects (and Matt Harrison):

C Jorge Alfaro
OF Nick Williams
SP Alec Asher
SP Jerad Eickhoff
SP Jake Thompson
SP Matt Harrison

Harrison is a keep-it-respectable-now starter who helps offset some money. The rest of the people are pieces with which the Phillies will build their future. And they’re nice pieces mostly, Alfaro and Thompson chief among them. As Keith Law (ESPN Insider only) notes, Alfaro has 80 power and an 80 arm, though he’s still an alarmingly free swinger. He’s still young, however, and catchers often develop a tad more slowly. Thompson projects to be a solid major league starter as well, with a solid fastball and an excellent slider even if he is a couple of years away.

Williams is hitting .300/.357/.480 in the Texas League (and he’s young for the Texas League) and played in the Futures Game last year. Eickhoff and Asher are more organizational arms who could be back-end starters or relievers in the bigs. Which is still valuable even if most people’s attention is paid to top tier prospects. The Phillies issue was not just a lack of projectable talent but a lack of talent of all stripes throughout its organization.

As for the Rangers, Hamels will slot alongside a healthy Yu Darvish and Martin Perez which should make the Rangers competitive in 2016 and 2017. They also didn’t have to give up Joey Gallo for him Hamels, which many might have assumed they’d do in such a big deal. Texas has been mildly competitive this year despite the Darvish injury. With Hamels in the fold, they should be considered playoff contenders going forward.

So, while all trades are judged twice — when they’re made and a couple of years later when we see how they turned out — this is a win-win at the time of the deal. Kudos to both Jon Daniels and Ruben Amaro for doing what needed to be done for their organizations.

Rangers land ace left-hander Cole Hamels from Phillies

Philadelphia at Chicago Cubs
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MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan had the majority of the major scoops on this one. It’s a massive two-team, eight-player blockbuster deal that will net the Phillies a frontline starter for this year and years to come while injecting more young talent into the Phillies’ under-construction minor league system.

Rangers get …

SP Cole Hamels
RP Jake Diekman

Phillies get …

C Jorge Alfaro
OF Nick Williams
SP Alec Asher
SP Jerad Eickhoff
SP Jake Thompson
SP Matt Harrison

Hamels can help the Rangers down the stretch this season — they’re not completely out of the hunt for the second American League Wild Card — and he’ll pair very well with Yu Darvish in the long term. Hamels, 31, is under contract through 2019. Philly has agreed to eat some of the cash that he’s owed.

In return, the Phillies get an impressive haul of prospects. Alfaro is a power-hitting, big-armed catching prospect who could be a star if he develops better plate discipline. Williams is a well-rounded outfielder with big upside, and Thompson has posted promising numbers in the lower levels of the minor leagues (the 21-year-old has struggled this season at Double-A). J.J. Cooper of Baseball America says all three would probably crack an updated top-100 ranking of the game’s best prospects. The other players are more of throw-ins — especially Harrison, who has chronic back issues and is still owed around $30 million. By accepting him in the trade, the Rangers no doubt increased their package of talent.

Rangers “close to getting” Phillies ace Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels
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UPDATED, 10:28 PM ET: OK, it’s Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman to the Rangers for prospects Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Alec Asher, Jake Thompson, and Jerad Eickhoff. Philly will also get 29-year-old left-handed starter Matt Harrison. Larger writeup to come.

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10:17 PM ET: FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi adds that outfield prospect Nick Williams is going to the Phillies as well. And there are others involved.

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10:12 PM ET: Philly will get 25-year-old minor league starter Jerad Eickhoff and 22-year-old catching prospect Jorge Alfaro, per Sullivan. That won’t be all.

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10:08 PM ET: Sullivan now says the trade will go down tonight. It’s in the “final stages.” Hamels declined to talk in the Phillies’ clubhouse.

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9:47 PM ET: MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan says the Rangers are “getting close to getting Hamels” and expect to have everything finalized Thursday. Other reporters are hearing the same.

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6:17 PM ET: The latest on the Cole Hamels …

Bob Nightengale of USA Today hears the Rangers are “now clear-cut favorites” to land the Phillies ace because the Dodgers prefer David Price and the Tigers have now made it known that they’re going to sell off some major parts. There’s been talk of the Astros making a big push for Hamels, but Hamels can block a trade there and Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle was told that the Astros’ front office is expecting him to land elsewhere. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday afternoon that the Giants are “fading” from the Hamels chase.

So it sounds like it’s all coming together for the Rangers, who currently stand 4 1/2 games back of the second American League Wild Card spot. Hamels is under contract through 2019 — at a pretty reasonable rate — so this trade wouldn’t just be about 2015.

Hamels, 31, owns a 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 137/39 K/BB ratio in 128 2/3 innings this season for Philadelphia. He threw a no-hitter in his last turn through the rotation Saturday against the Cubs.