MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reports that the Rangers and Nationals have had preliminary discussions about a trade involving starter Cole Hamels. Morosi notes that Hamels’ salary — the prorated remainder of his $22.5 million owed for this season plus a $20 million club option with a $9 million buyout next year — could be an impediment, as the Rangers would be expected to assume some or all of that remaining salary. Hamels also has a limited no-trade clause, but the Nationals are one of the 10 teams to which Hamels cannot block a trade.
Hamels, 34, has a 4.36 ERA with 109 strikeouts and 40 walks in 109 1/3 innings this season. He has pitched much better on the road (2.93) than at home (5.83 ERA) at the hitter-friendly Globe Life Park in Arlington. A change of scenery could do his numbers some good.
The Nationals entered play Monday with a 49-49 record, sitting in third place in the NL East behind the Phillies and Braves. The starting rotation hasn’t been as good as expected, with Tanner Roark leading the league with 12 losses. Stephen Strasburg hasn’t pitched like the ace the Nationals thought they inked to an extension in May 2016. Adding Hamels would likely push Roark to the bullpen.
This joke has probably already been made ad nauseam, so you have my apologies ahead of time. If the Nats were to acquire Hamels, he could be called “Nats King Cole.”