With the Philadelphia Phillies falling further and further behind in the National League East, speculation has increased that they will deal All-Star Cole Hamels this year rather than take the risk of losing him to free agency after the season. The early frontrunners for Hamels appear to be the Rangers, Dodgers, and of course the Yankees.
Most people in the game believe the Dodgers are the most likely destination for Hamels after this season. He is a So-Cal kid and could definitely be influenced by the new ownership in L.A. to go back home to play. I see the Rangers as being the most likely trade partner with the Phillies. The Phillies are desperately in need of a long-term solution at third base, and Rangers prospect Mike Olt may be just the guy they are looking for. If the Phillies decide to send away the man groomed to be their ace for the next decade, they better get someone who will contribute.
The Phillies are at a crossroad as an organization. They have an aging roster that needs to not only get more talent but also get younger at the same time. Next year, they have to find a starting third baseman, a starting left fielder, a starting center fielder and many bullpen arms. If they could fill some of these voids by getting rid of Hamels, then it may be worth seeing their homegrown talent be sent away.
As always, the Yankees have jumped into the discussion after losing two of their left-handed starters in the past few weeks. I do not think that the Yankees have the 4-5 stud prospects the Phillies are said to be seeking for Hamels, and honestly, I am not too sure anybody will give them that much just to rent Hamels for the rest of the season. Still, you never know, so it is the smart play for Phillies GM Ruben Amaro to ask for a lot rather to accept a little.
Expect a large amount of rumors in the next few weeks regarding Hamels but believe only the ones that have the Phillies getting at least one starter for 2013 in the deal. They won’t get rid of him unless he brings back a contributor, and if they believe Olt is a piece for the future, then you may see the Cole-Train being moved to Arlington real soon.