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Report: Rangers, Nationals have discussed Cole Hamels trade

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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.”

TV, radio announcers to call road games via TV monitors back home

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Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com tweeted this morning that all major league broadcasters — TV and radio — have been told that they will be calling all 2020 road games from local broadcast studios or the home ballpark via a monitor as opposed to traveling with the team.

I have two thoughts on this.

First: it’ll probably be fine. There may be some lower energy because a crowd and live action pumps up broadcasters just as much as it does players, but I think the pros will adjust. We’ve seen this in the Olympics and it has worked. ESPN is doing it with KBO games right now. It’s doable.

Theres’s also a risk, I think, that the lack of immediacy on the part of the broadcasters could potentially lend itself to more of a talk show vibe and less attention to the game at hand. Still, I think the better broadcasters will stay on task and good producers will help even the ones most tempted to gab guard against doing so. They’re not ESPN broadcasters, after all. Almost all local broadcasters do a good job of focusing on the game, not chatting for chatting’s sake.

Second: I suspect that a good number of networks will stick to the “call the game from home” model beyond 2020 if it proves to be anything other than a disaster. It’s expensive to broadcast games from on-site, and if they can save the money on that I bet they’d like to. No one would ever be willing to be a first mover on that kind of thing for fear of appearing cheap, but if everyone is forced to do it everyone will be looking very hard at the feasibility of doing it long term.

Anyway, this season — if there’s a season — road games are gonna feel a bit different at first.