Report: Rangers, Phillies still discussing Cole Hamels

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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Phillies and Rangers are still discussing a potential trade involving pitcher Cole Hamels. Heyman adds that both sides still appear to be far apart and there isn’t much optimism that a deal would be reached, but the door hasn’t been shut yet.

The Rangers recently lost Yu Darvish for the season to Tommy John surgery and are hurting for starting rotation help. Ross Detwiler, Nick Martinez, Nick Tepesch, and Anthony Ranaudo are competing for spots at the back of the rotation behind Yovani Gallardo, Colby Lewis, and Derek Holland. The Rangers hope Holland — who had microfracture knee surgery last year — will be ready to go not too long after the regular season begins.

The Phillies, meanwhile, are in the midst of a rebuild. They have been openly shopping Hamels for quite some time, but are holding out for a significant haul of prospects. The Padres had talked with the Phillies before signing James Shields, and the Red Sox still remain interested but aren’t willing to part with Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart to acquire the lefty.

MLB to move the draft to Omaha on the eve of the College World Series

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SAN DIEGO — We spend a lot of time on these pages criticizing Major League Baseball’s decisions. And yeah, they make a lot of questionable decisions (or logical decisions which serve questionable motives). But in the past day or so they’ve certainly gotten a couple of things right.

First was what we posted about last night: MLB moving to take marijuana off the banned substance list for minor leaguers. This, combined with the recent report that MLB/MLBPA are moving to a treatment, as opposed to a punishment-based regimen for opioids, shows that sense, as opposed to hysteria and optics, is beginning to move to the fore when it comes to baseball’s drug policies. It’s certainly welcome.

Also reported last night — by Kendall Rogers of the website d1baseball.com — Major League Baseball plans to move the amateur draft from the MLB Network studios in New Jersey to Omaha, Nebraska, and schedule it at just at the start of the College World Series. The move has not been officially announced yet, but I’d expect an MLB press release on it before we all get on our planes on Thursday morning.

It would be nicely coordinated too, Rogers says, coming just after the super regionals but before the actual CWS. This would allow the top players expected to go to all be on hand, either as players in the CWS or because, hey, they just got done and would probably be there anyway. It’s way better than putting a six guys in a green room in Secaucus. That’s always so awkward. You can tell they don’t really want to be there and don’t know what to do with themselves. In Omaha they’ll be among their friends, teammates, family, and counterparts. The atmosphere will almost certainly radically change for the better.

It’s still a very, very tall order to ever create the same level of interest in the MLB draft that exists for the NFL or NBA drafts, as the structure of college football and basketball and the fame of its stars is a totally different deal coming in. But this is a positive move forward for the baseball draft. Good job to whoever’s idea it was.