So maybe Cole Hamels is available after all

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The Phillies have said for a couple of months that they weren’t putting Cole Hamels on the market. But then this got tweeted:

I’ve never truly believed it when teams say players are untouchable or that they are not having conversations about them. It’d be malpractice not to! That doesn’t mean they’re seriously considering a trade. Or that they disrespect the player. It’s just that there’s no use going through life with a hand tied behind your back. Talk to some GM about your “untouchable” player and you may find out that GM is dumb and will overpay. Or, at the very least, you get some intelligence about what’s going on in the marker place.

I bet someone will take issue with the Phillis for “making Hamels available” to whatever extent he is, in fact, available. But it’d be way dumber for Ruben Amaro to throw his cell phone in the toilet and not accept any calls at all.

Rays sign lefty Ryan Merritt to a minor league deal

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The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.

Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.

His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.

The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.