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.

Francisco Cervelli shines in his Braves debut

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Last week the Pittsburgh Pirates released Francisco Cervelli. Yesterday he was signed by the Braves. Atlanta gave him the start behind the plate and he went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three runs driven in to help his new team to victory over the Mets. Welcome to Atlanta, Frankie.

Cervelli had been rehabbing from a concussion and hadn’t seen big league action since late May. He was ready to come back, though, and the Pirates — who are going nowhere — gave him his release so that he might join a contender for the stretch run.

The performance he put up last night, obviously will not be the norm for him going forward. But it’s also the case that his early 2019 batting line of .193/.279/.248 is not indicative of his talent level either. He posted an .809 OPS (122 OPS+) in 2018, and if he gives Atlanta anything even approaching his usual production it’ll help stabilize a shaky catching situation for the Braves.