Reports out of Philadelphia surfaced over the past week that the Toronto BlueJays have inquired about the availability of both Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino. It is very likely that these “reports” are being used as a motivational tool by Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, since it is hard to believe the Phillies would consider sending a Cy Young contender and a Gold Glove outfielder away because of one very sloppy month to start the season.
For Toronto, it was most likely due diligence. It makes sense for them to reach out and plant the seed now, in hopes that if they are in contention in August, they might be able to rent Hamels and Victorino for a few months and finally make a trip back to the playoffs. Both players are free agents after this season, and Hamels is expecting a long-term deal for a possible record amount. It would be very unlikely he would finish his career in Toronto, so this move would be a way for the Jays to go all in for 2012 at least.
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The Phillies clearly need offensive help, and Victorino has been a huge part of the problem so far this season. He is not a middle-of-the-lineup hitter, but due to injury, he has spent time there all season. He is a great piece to a team but is not the prime-time player that Ryan Howard or Chase Utley is. He traditionally plays the role of the sidekick for the Phillies, and he is good at it. He is the baseball version of Scottie Pippen. He will never be the guy for the team, but if greatness is around him, he looks a lot better then he may actually be.
Overall, I view these trade rumors as just a match being lit by a GM for a team that is frustratingly underperforming and could use a nice kick in the rear. Hopefully, that’s all it is, because if you take Hamels away from this team right now, it may start looking a lot like 1985-1992 in the City of Brotherly Love. Ah, I cringe at that thought.