We haven’t heard much chatter about Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels this week, but you can blame Jon Lester for that. According to Alex Speier of WEEI.com, the Phillies will wait until after Lester signs to explore the trade market. That way they can engage those who came up short for the free agent left-hander. Hamels would be a perfectly suitable “Plan B” for the Red Sox or Cubs.
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg understands the reality that the franchise is faced with, but he doesn’t expect Hamels to be dealt unless they get “wowed” by the return:
“I know with any of these players that [GM Ruben Amaro] wants a deal that’s going to be good for the Philadelphia Phillies going forward. Anyway that he can help the process and add players that can help us not only this next year but in the future, that’s the goal,” said Sandberg. “There’s no way that Ruben’s going to just give away a player. I mean, we’d have to be wowed to give up a guy like Cole Hamels, which would be a wow that would help us with the process and go in the direction that we want to go. … I’m just waiting to see through this process to see what comes about. Whether Ruben gets wowed or not is yet to be seen. If not, then he’s on our pitching staff, and we build some more starting pitching depth around him.”
Sandberg isn’t out of line to think that. Hamels is guaranteed $96 million over the next four seasons with a $20 million option for 2018 which carries an $6 million buyout. With the contracts that Lester and Max Scherzer are likely to receive this winter, he’s a bargain. The 30-year-old has the ability to block trades to 20 clubs each year.