After much speculation, the Phillies finally pulled the trigger on a deal to send Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers, and the trade should help rebuild the Phillies’ farm system. In the reported deal, the Phillies sent Cole Hamels, relief pitcher Jake Diekman, and cash to Texas in exchange for Matt Harrison, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff and Jake Thompson.
By all accounts the trade looks to benefit both teams, but jut like any other trade, it really cannot be judged for a few more years. The Rangers received a true ace in Cole Hamels. He automatically makes them wild card contenders this season, and with Yu Darvish returning from an injury next year, the Rangers will have one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball at the top of their rotation.
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The Phillies were able to completely restock their farm system. Jorge Alfaro is the prize in the bunch, but he is very raw. He is a catcher with a great arm, which the Phillies are in desperate need of, but he is a free swinger. Many scouts say he may not stay at catcher, but I am sure the Phillies plan to make him their backstop for the next decade.
Nick Williams is also extremely raw. He is a consistent center fielder who hits for both average and power. He is currently batting around.300 in the Texas League. He could very well be a piece of the next Phillies core.
Jered Eickoff and Alec Asher are both projected to be late-innings pitchers or bottom of the rotation starters at best. It is most likely that Asher will reach the big leagues before the rest of the prospects in this deal, but he is still a few years away.
Jake Thompson is a young, hard throwing righty who has played in the Futures Game and projects to be a stud for the Phillies. Along with his fastball, Thompson has slider that could one day be the best in baseball. Thompson is only 21 years old, so he isn’t going to be in red pinstripes anytime soon.
Overall, this trade looks to have done exactly what the Phillies needed to do. These prospects, along with current Phillies Aaron Nola, Maikel Franco and top prospect J.P Crawford will be the core of the next generation of Phillies. The team could not afford to screw up this deal, and for now, it looks like they have not done so.
As for Cole Hamels, he was always a true professional while in Philadelphia. He did as much for the community as he did for the team on the field. It was fitting to see his last start be his first career true no-hitter (Hamels also pitched a combined no-no with three other pitchers). He leaves Philadelphia fans with lasting memories after leading the team throughout the 2008 Playoffs and winning the first title for the city of Philadelphia in 25 years. Hamels will ultimately be a player fans look back on and realize they didn’t understand what they had at the time.
In leaving Philadelphia, Hamels may have given the fans something that will last long past the day he throws his final pitch: a future. For this, Philadelphia thanks him. Best of luck in Texas “Hollywood”! Thanks for the memories.