The market for Cole Hamels is getting bigger

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Over the winter and during spring training, many columns were filed criticizing Phillies GM Ruben Amaro for not trading ace Cole Hamels. Amaro was being too unrealistic, they said. The risk of Hamels getting injured was too high to not sell now, they wrote.

Amaro, often criticized beyond what is necessary, probably made the right call. The latest batch of news points to a widening market for Hamels. The Cardinals watched ace Adam Wainwright succumb to a season-ending injury on Saturday night. The Red Sox starting rotation collectively has a 5.75 ERA after Wade Miley’s disastrous outing on Sunday afternoon. Dodger pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu are both injured, and they started Scott Baker on Sunday against the Padres. While Baker pitched well, he’s no Hamels.

Teams rarely make it through an entire season — or even through July — with their starting rotation intact. Some pitchers will suffer injuries, others will unexpectedly perform poorly. When the thought of competing for a post-season berth or actually competing in the post-season without a reliable starting pitcher or two sets in, teams become a little more willing to pay premium for quality starting pitching.

Hamels is currently 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA and a 23/12 K/BB ratio in 24 innings for the Phillies this season.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.