Thoughts on potential Cole Hamels trades

Disclaimer: I wrote about 3,000 words, hit the wrong key stroke, and apparently autosave didn’t work, so it was all erased. I am going to try and type it again, but I can promise you it won’t be as detailed as what I’d written before.

Okay, so Jim Salisbury identified 4 teams that were in the running for Cole Hamels: The Padres, Red Sox, Rangers and Cardinals. I wanted to take a look at each of the 4 to see what the Phillies could expect to receive in return. I also wanted to make a few comments on the actual concept of trading Cole Hamels. I’ll do all of that below the fold.

I have 5 key points to make before looking at each of the 4 teams that Steaks mentioned are showing the most interest in Hamels.

1. The chestnut being thrown around recently is that Cole’s contract is a bit of a problem. This is ridiculous. If you compare him to the pitchers who make a similar amount of money, he’s arguably the best of the bunch behind only Kershaw. The others on the list include Verlander, King Felix, Tanaka, Sabathia, Greinke, Lester, and Cliff Lee. James Shields and Scherzer will join the list soon, David Price and Jordan Zimmermann soon after. Assuming that a team who does not have to pick up his option as part of the NTC compensation acquires him, they are on the hook for 4/90 and then a 6m buyout if they choose, which means a 4/96 ($24m AAV) over the next 4 years. For one of the best pitchers in baseball, who has been durable and has extensive postseason experience, this is right in line with what you’d expect. And because most teams are unwilling to go beyond 4-5 years when giving deals to pitchers, he holds an advantage over guys like Lester and Verlander who are already signed, and over the guys who are going to get 6-7 year deals like Scherzer, Shields, Price and Zimmermann. Don’t let people tell you his contract is anything other than fair.

2. Along the same lines, some are saying the Phillies might have to pick up part of the money to get a deal done. This should ONLY be done if it significantly improves the package of players coming back to the Phillies. The Phillies one advantage right now is their spending power, which I highlighted a few weeks ago. Their opening day payroll is likely to be under $150m, and the luxury tax threshold is $189m this year. If paying $15-20m over the next 2-3 years brings you back another elite prospect or young player, then do it. We won’t be near the luxury tax threshold anyway, and with the new TV money coming in, we can afford it. But this should absolutely NOT be a deal done to “move his salary”…I’ll rage if I read that as one of the motivations for eventually trading him.

3. Hamels is by far our best trading chip, and he’s the key to our “rebuilding” efforts. We screwed the pooch on the first Cliff Lee deal, we badly botched the Hunter Pence deal. We can’t afford to give Hamels away for 20 cents on the dollar. The return on any Hamels deal has to include at least one very high probability guy who figures to be at least an average major league regular. We didn’t get that in either of the deals mentioned above.

4. The Phillies should not feel pressured to trade Hamels right now. Because he isn’t a “rental” it isn’t like his value is going to decrease by July. If anything, his value goes up, because the money the other team is on the hook for goes down. Sure, he could get hurt (knock on wood), but that goes for any pitcher or player. By waiting, teams that might not have a need now could get involved if their ace suddenly gets injured. Also, by waiting, the Phillies can continue to gather intel on the guys they are interested in. More information is good. They appeared to rush in their efforts to trade Cliff Lee a few years ago, and it came back to burn them. They shouldn’t rush this time. And lets face it, he will be one of the few reasons to actually watch Phillies baseball this season.

5. Some of the national media writers/trolls have said the Phillies are being “unrealistic” in their demands for Hamels. Good. They shouldn’t bend over for anyone and move him just to move him. You never start a negotiation with the lowest offer you’d accept, you aim for the stars and then settle on something a bit lower. Surely the 29 other GMs also understand this concept. Don’t listen to writers who dislike Amaro and expect him to “do the right thing” and dump Hamels to a team they like more than the Phillies.

So, the teams that Steaks mentioned, lets go over them.

Padres: The Padres have a GM who is willing to deal, which is always a good starting point. The Pads have traded away most of their farm system this winter, but they have managed to hold on to their 3 best prospects:

  • Austin Hedges, C (age 22) – Hedges is an elite defender but his bat is lagging way behind. He played in a tough park in 2014, but scouts seem to question whether he can even be an average offensive catcher. His absolute best case scenario is Yadi Molina, but he’s a long way away from that.
  • Hunter Renfroe, OF (age 22) – Renfroe is probably the safest prospect they have. He isn’t flashy, doesn’t have one elite tool, but should be at least a league average RF for the next 5 years. He’s probably a 20 HR guy with average on base skills at his peak, maybe a bit better.
  • Matt Wisler, RHP (age 22) – Cruised through the low minors, hit the wall at AAA this year. Most scouts still think he’s a solid #3, maybe a bit more. High probability guy, close to the majors.

Beyond this list, they have a few interesting guys like Rymer Lirano, Cory Spangenberg, and Jose Rondon. If the Phillies are dealing Cole to his hometown team, they need to get 2 of the 3 above, and then preferably one of the other 3 I mentioned and one more low level guy. Hedges, Renfroe and Wisler are all solid, but I’d bet against any of them turning into perennial all stars, and you really should be getting at least one guy who is a decent bet to turn into a star when you are trading an elite major leaguer.

Rangers: I’m not sure if the Rangers are buyers or not, Salisbury mentioned they were quietly working in the background, and they are in a very tough division. The Angels and A’s content every year, the Mariners are finally improving, and it appears the Astros are done tanking, so they’ll improve too. The Rangers have a lot of young talent on the big league roster, and also a good farm system

  • Joey Gallo, 3B (age 21) – I think its unlikely the Rangers would trade him, so I won’t get too hung up on him, but he’s got 40 home run potential, and also the potential to strike out 225 times in a season. His upside is one of the best offensive players in baseball, his downside is Adam Dunn. Huge range of outcomes, and because he could turn into a .270 hitter with 40+ home runs a season, I doubt the Rangers move him.
  • Alex Gonzalez, RHP (age 23) – First round pick in 2013, cruised through AA this year, just turned 23. Looks like a legit mid rotation guy with a chance to be a #2. Very good fastball/sinker, good slider, potential for a plus changeup, and close to the majors. A very good prospect.
  • Jorge Alfaro, C (age 21) – Potential all-star catcher. Has borderline elite raw power and one of the best arms in the minors. Still rough around the edges, but has progressed as expected. A few years away from the majors, but has the chance to be an all star in his prime.
  • Jake Thompson, RHP (age 20) – Turns 21 in a few weeks, power arm, great fastball and slider, but might end up in the pen.
  • Nomar Mazara, OF (age 19) – When you make it to AA as a 19 year old and you more than hold your own (.306/.381/.518 in 85 AB) then you are a special prospect. He’s a prototypical RF, big power potential, good arm, and really broke out in 2014.

In addition to these key guys, they also have Jurickson Profar, Rougned Odor, and Martin Perez in the majors, and then guys who could be interesting like Michael Choice. The Phillies might have to kick in money to make a deal work, but if they could land 2 of Gonzalez, Alfaro and Mazara, they should absolutely be willing to do that. The Rangers are my preferred trading partner in a Hamels deal.

Red Sox – As I am entrenched here in Red Sox country, I really hope he doesn’t end up here, because then I’d have to hate him.

  • Blake Swihart, C (age 22) – He’s the big name that has been mentioned, and for good reason, as he looks like a potential all-star catcher.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP (age 21) – Stolen from the Orioles for Andrew Miller, he’s a quality starting pitching prospect with a plus fastball and the potential for a plus slider and changeup as well. Success in AA, close to big league ready.
  • Henry Owens, LHP (age 22) – A tall, lanky SoCal kid with a plus changeup…sounds familiar. The comparisons with Hamels end there, but he does have the potential for 3 plus pitches and he’s already close to big league ready.
  • Manuel Margot, OF (age 20) and Rafael Devers, 3B (age 18) – Two high profile international signings with big upside, but a long way to go.

Beyond this list, the Red Sox also have young guys who’ve already spent time in the bigs in Mookie Betts,  Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr and Christian Vazquez. It seems they are unlikely to trade Betts in any deal, which is understandable. They also seem like they won’t trade Swihart, but that might be posturing. Vazquez, also a catcher, has plenty of upside and profile as well, and if you can land Owens and one of Margot/Devers as well, that’s 3 nice pieces. I’d also ask for a lesser guy like Matt Barnes too. The Red Sox are media darlings, so I’m going to assume a lot of the “unreasonable” talk has come from the Red Sox asking guys like Buster Olney and Jon Heyman to do their dirty work for them to get the price to come down. The Phillies shouldn’t bend over for the Red Sox or anyone else. The Phillies would likely be better off demanding Swihart be the cornerstone of the deal and taking less quantity if they do a deal with the Red Sox. Of course, if they think Xander can’t stick at SS and they would move him, now that they signed Sandoval, I’d certainly build a deal around him.

Cardinals – I hate the Cardinals, and speaking objectively, their farm system is pretty lousy. They have Marco Gonzalez, a solid LHP, and then a lot of question marks. Stephen Piscotty is similar to Hunter Renfroe in that he doesn’t have an elite tool, and after that you’ve got lots of question marks and guys that would fill out the back end of a trade. I don’t think Gonzalez is a deal headliner. They do have young talent on the big league team in Carlos Martinez, but I am not sure if he sticks as a starter long term, and the Phillies would have to be sure he was before making that deal. Plus, the latest rumor says the Cards aren’t really that interested. Good, I don’t want him to go there anyway.

Given my writeups above, its probably clear that I think the Rangers are the best fit, given their minor league talent. One of the Rangers beat writers said that money could be a stumbling block, but if we can land a few of their elite guys, we should be able to make that problem go away. The Padres pieces are interesting, but we’d have to really get all 3 of their big guns to make me feel comfortable about that.

If I had to guess right now, I think Hamels will be with the Phillies on opening day. And really, that isn’t the end of the world.

154 thoughts on “Thoughts on potential Cole Hamels trades

  1. Fantastic post, informative and realistic from both our and other teams’ perspectives. I would be ecstatic to have Mazara and Alfaro; our OF and C depth is so pitiful right now, and those two sound great.

    1. If the Phillies aren’t getting what they need then they should not even consider the idea of moving Hamels.

      A trade of Cole Hamels looks like this:

      Hamels plus $96 million to Boston for:

      Mookie Betts

      Xander Bogaerts

      Blake Swihart

      Rafael Devers

      The players are not negotiable. The Red Sox want Hamels. He’s a star. He’s “Collywood””as Jimmy Rollins nicknamed him. He’s a cover guy, a face of the franchise.

      You want that? You’re going to pay.

      The Rangers have an interesting group of prospects.

      Rougned Odor

      Jorge Alfaro

      Nomar Mazara

      The Rangers want money? OK. Then the Phillies also want Joey Gallo

      There’s a deal to be made here with either team. Texas is probably the easiest since Hamels doesn’t have them blocked.

      If neither is going to pay then the Phillies should keep Hamels. He is the face of the franchise.

      Yoan Moncada is a franchise player. HE should be the Phillies sole focus until he is signed. Moncada is worth whatever his price is as his bat plays anywhere and Moncada has the athleticism and skill to play anywhere on the diamond.

      The Phillies have done absolutely nothing to achieve a return to the playoffs by 2018. It’s not possible to see them in the playoffs in 2022 based on what they have done so far and the egregious state of their farm system.

      Comcast gave John Middleton $6 Billion for THIS?

      His son the “Invested Phan” is on Twitter: @johnmiddleton

      ASK HIM

      _

  2. Damn good analysis. It seems that waiting to deal Hamels will be the way to go. During the season, teams will be able to see their “shortcomings” and make moves to fix problems…and one of those problems most usually occurs in their pitching staff.

    Agree that writers devalue high end players where teams seem “desperate” to make trades. The more urgent, the less return. Slow and easy will win this game…extended into the season.

    Meanwhile, this site will ease us through the most interesting aspects of building a new team. Can’t think of a better place to watch the process….which is an architectural pleasure. We will debate the moves and that is entertaining and FUN!!

    Glad James is back to lead the way!!

  3. James, it is so great to have you back. I agree with your post, and love the part about Heyman and Olney doing the Red Sox bidding! I would take the Rangers deal, definitely, and Vasquez, Rodriguez, plus Devers/Margot, could persuade me to forego Swihart. And, I agree with you that Hamels is the Phils opening Day SP.

  4. I agree that they done NEED to move him this off season but he will lose some value if they wait until next season. The reason why I say this is because the FA pool for pitchers next year is very deep w the likes of Bucholtz, Cueto, Fister, Gallardo, Greinke, Kazmir, Latos, Portcello, Price, Samardzija and Zimmerman.

  5. Maybe I’m too risk averse but I’d rather move him now than wait until the trade deadline. It’s really weighing the risk of injury against the premium contending teams pay for wins near the trade deadline compared to the offseason. The Phillies obviously know the most about Hamels’ health, but taking him into the season does risk setting back the team a few years in the event of an injury.

    I agree with you that the Rangers are the most appealing of trade partners. They have a crowded infield and tons of upside not named Gallo; Fangraph’s prospect write-up on their organization had 11 total 50+ future value prospects.

  6. Does hamels have more risk then LESTER, OR OTHERS, what is wrong with him??? I keep hearing risk of injury.

    1. I definitely wouldn’t doubt if it was the Red Sox using the media to get the Phillies to lower the asking price.

      Like you said, the Phillies shouldn’t bend over for anybody.

  7. Scherzer, in my mind, has a better risk of a drop off. Look at Verlander. Say Boras gets him 7/$175. Loss of draft pick and then just a $ risk vs. Hamels at 4/$96, plus prospects. I have to go Hamels. Not saying that means we get a team’s top 3 prospects, but just looking at it objectively, Hamels is a better risk.

  8. Hallelujah! Finally someone with authority that doesn’t suggest we need to take a team’s 3rd and 5th best prospects for one of the best pitchers in the game.

    Awesome post. I loved you calling out the national media meme.

    So glad you are back.

    1. ty god I thought I was the only one who here who thought taking a bad package for hamels was nuts. I just don’t understand all the negative things like he is likely to get hurt. omg that is just nuts. anyone can get hurt. all pitchers are a risk.. james said it best.

  9. And for the people new to this blog, understand James is consistent. He said the same thing when we gave up a boatload for Halladay. The guy who started a blog about Phillie prospects was all for that deal.

  10. Great Article. I think we should move him soon becuase if he gets hurt or tails off our rebuild takes a big hit.

  11. If it comes to the Rangers…..I would avoid Gallo
    K rate is a huge red-flag to me.
    Prefer Alfaro, Gonzalez or Mazara.
    Trying to find one HR hitter in MLB history who’s MiLB K rate was 30% plus and has become an impact player.
    Even players like Dave Kingman and Mark Reynlolds had 25% or less MiLB K rates.

  12. Just thought that now might be a good time to give Amaro a little credit for last year at the trading deadline. He took a lot of heat for not moving Byrd then but it should pay dividends in the Hamel discussions because teams now know he won’t cave in on who he wants. Plus Amaro getting Lively far exceeded anything that was offered last year for Byrd. And I think we can all agree all the moves he’s made starting with the Hernandez trade have been quite good. And his approach so far with Hamel has been right on. So I just thought it needed to be mentioned considering all negative comments Amaro gets on this site.

    1. I agree. We can blame him and the FO for allowing the team to make some questionable moves and delaying the rebuilding process, but since the Hernandez deal they’ve been taking the right approach.

      They have been moving veterans for some nice prospects who could contribute long-term, drafting smarter, bringing in cheap FA who can add depth and possibly be traded in July, and they have taken guys in the rule 5.

      I believe they have cleared about 46mil in payroll so far this off season. While clearing payroll isn’t really a major priority for a larger market team, it certainly doesn’t hurt to take money off the books during a rebuild. They could save some money by moving Pap, Howard, and Hamels. A Hamels trade would be for prospects rather than shedding payroll, but moving him would indeed save us money. A low payroll and Comcast money will give us a lot of flexibility as our farm develops.

      If all goes right we could have a strong group of prospects emerging to the big leagues with a lot of money to spend and build around them.

  13. I am hoping we move him, I think he is the best option right now for pitching, but it seems like no one wants to add a top end starter.

  14. Love the article I was reading the mlbtraderumors article and read where one columnists said that Raj is trying to see his by asking for too much.also said Howard contact is albatross.I looked up Albatross which means something to with bird migration so I have no idea what that columnist was trading to say.

  15. I agree that we need to get a headliner in any Hamels deal. I think San Diego would love to do a deal but they don’t have enough without including Myers. Wouldn’t Profar plus the catcher be very interesting from Texas? I would still prefer a deal be made soon.
    As far as Howard, RAJ has basically just announced again that Howard won’t be released. It’s all for the other teams waiting for Howard to be released.

    1. Just wondering but why/how can you hate the Cardnals organization? They are a very classy org. plus they know how to win, get the most outta their homegrown players and just play well as a team. I think they are a good model of how to run an organization. Just my opinion tho.

      1. Eric I hate them, but admire there fo. one of the best. especially that they don’t have the money like Yankees and dodgers. but know how to win , they know when to let a guy go. just a great orgnization

  16. Hamels and $32 million (the same amount the Dodgers gave in the Matt Kemp trade) for Alfaro, Williams, and Maraza.

    By the way, we didn’t screw up those trades the boy wonder you have defended for years, Amaro, screwed them up because he is an idiot.

    1. Agree on both counts.

      The fact is that for years you defended Amaro and the Lee trade. Despite at the time No Ackley, No Saunders, and No Pineda in the deal.

      Please finally admit you can trust Amaro to walk a dog.

  17. James, I looked everywhere for a spot to put a thumbs up to your post. I am a Red Sox hater and it’s all because of the Cardinals. I moved from Philly to Mass. in 1967. Who was in the World Series that year? The Sox and the Cards. I hated the Cards and hoped the Sox would destroy them. Instead Bob Gibson destroyed the Sox. I never forgave them. The fans were so obnoxious I wanted to spit blood. Living in CT now affords me the chance to root for the Yanks to destroy them. I can watch the Sox or Yanks any day to the week on TV. In the 2000’s that hasn’t been such a good bet.

    In any event, the Phils should hang onto Hamels until the deal of a century comes along. If there aren’t two regulars in the next two years in the deal with one of them a potential all-star, don’t do it. Other pieces included should also have MLB potential. It’s a lot to ask but the Phils hold all the cards (no pun intended).

  18. Texas is indeed a great trade candidate, particularly if we can land one of Gallo/Alfaro, and A. Gonzalez. It’s easy to see how Matt identifies with Texas as his preferred trade partner. I’m still interested in San Diego though. Renfroe, Wisler and another prospect would be a great fit for the rebuilding effort. A RH OF’er with capability of hitting 20 Hrs and yet another mid-rotation type pitching prospect. Sign me up. Love Hamels – but it’s not like his salary can’t be allocated to a FA in 2016-17.

    We should trade Hamels, but only for the right package. The risk of Hamels getting hurt in 2015 is much less than the risk to our chances of future winning seasons if we fail to land a significant return for Hamels

      1. We’re evaluating potential trade candidates. Why forget him? He’s part of the equation. If you’re presuming my personal preference, I’d take Alfaro paired with A Gonzalez over Gallo and Gonzalez anyway

      2. Gallo could be a huge flame-out. His K rate is already astronomical after over 1200 PAs in the minors. IMO, I would pass on him if it is between Alfaro and him.
        He could be another Adam Dunn.

        1. Adam Dunn was a good player though. I’m pretty sure if Gallo turned out to be Adam Dunn (offensively) the Rangers would be very happy. That’s the one part I didn’t get about James’ article. The guy had a career 123 wRC+. I think Gallo’s downside is more like a Russell Branyan.

  19. James, the article was very well done, objective and very informative about trading Cole Hamels. I agree with you that the Padres and Rangers are our best trade partners and would not trade Cole to the Cardinals. I hope the Red Sox(intensely dislike them) finish in the second tier of their division which is probable as they lack pitching and all their off season spending will not improve them much.The demise of the Orioles is overplayed as Machado is fully healthy this year and Buck will find a winning combination to keep the AL East.

    1. James, I am probably in the minority but I believe the second Cliff Lee deal was not RAJ’s idea but forced by the shortsighted ownership as it does not fit Ruben’s method of operation. I hope Mr. Middleton is the new majority owner very soon.

    1. Agree. Crawford is a soon to be Top 10 guy. Add two more guys that would at the very least push Quinn down two spots and you would have a massive transformation of the Top 10 in less than a year.

      I would love to see Lee come out healthy and be 95% of his old self. Lee and some cash could very well translate into another Top 10 guy

    2. Which trades are you referencing? The articke lists prospects in the respective organizations that might be interesting to the Phillies and could be avaiable in some combination

  20. Glad to see people are finally getting realistic about possible returns for Hamels. Just a month or two ago people actually thought players like Betts were in play.

    1. I think it’s hilarious that this comment gets down voted.

      I think the article is pretty good though slightly on the optimistic side. But as you correctly state, it’s quite a bit more realistic than some of the of the rather absurd suggestions that we’ve seen previously.

      Here’s where we are, and where we have been:

      (1) There have always been – and still are – two distinct and separate questions. What is the market price for Hamels, and what should the minimum acceptable price be?

      (2) No one here – and for the most part not the national media (there are exceptions) has denied that Hamels “should” (and probably could) bring back at least one “top” prospect. The questions are: (a) whether there are some “top” prospects that are off the table, and who are they, and (b) whether he can bring back 2 or even 3 “top” prospects.

      (3) As to question “a,” the answer pretty clearly is yes, and Betts is one of them. Of course that doesn’t mean that the Phillies shouldn’t, as a negotiating position, ask for these players.

      (4) As to question “b,” setting aside abstract questions of value, the market (especially in light of the teams involved), seems to suggest that 3 is not happening, and that 2 is much more likely if the team takes the chance of waiting until the trade deadline.

      And waiting for the chance at a bigger haul – 2 “top” prospects – is absolutely defensible. But it is a risk.

      What’s funny to me (and James is not guilty of this) is the continued tendency for some commenters to stubbornly insist that reality should conform to their desires. The market, like it or not, is what it is.

      1. I think it’s also funny that tone has such a huge effect on how these kinds of posts are received. James isn’t THAT far from what I’ve been saying, but, be because of tone, the same people who have been vociferously disagreeing with my comments are praising James for his optimism.

        1. Let’s be clear on this point:

          In his proposed trades, James suggested a top 25 prospect, another top 100 prospect and 1 or 2 other high upside, but low level prospect.

          If that is even close to what you have been saying, then I completely misunderstood you and you are right that the tone of your posts had to do with it.

        2. You’re brutal honesty is appreciated by me Larry. Certainly a lot of truth in the statement that personal desire is most likely in conflict with reality.

          I think what makes it difficult to debate is that no one truly knows what players are being discussed. So we can’t effectively evaluate how much of what James says is true meaning are the Phillies really being ridiculous with their demands or are the Sox low balling the Phillies.

          I don’t think the Pads without Wil Myers and Rhymer Liriano have enough. I have no interest in Hedges or Renfroe. I’d want Wisler too. (that’s ridiculous from the Pads standpoint) so I doubt they can do a deal.

          The Rangers could entice me. I need Odor or Profar followed by Thompson and Mazaro.

          And the Sox well they could present 3 or 4 packages that I would take that’s why I think even Boston’s own writers are miffed a deal hasn’t got done.

  21. Well you can prob remove the Rangers from a possible partner . . . They are about to acquire Yovani Gallardo. Will be interesting to see the return the Brewers got for him.

    1. He’s a little younger than Cole, but I don’t think he is quite Cole Hamels. He had a nice year in 2014, but I would think that an acquiring team would have to be at least a little concerned that Gallardo’s K-rate is off the past two seasons, while his H/9 has edged up a little.

      1. Gallardo is also more injury prone than Hamels as he has spent much more time on the DL and is more inconsistent than Cole.

  22. Allentown it doesnt matter, Texas got a starter on a one year deal. Hamels wont go there now .I just don’t understand the rush to move him. There hasn’t been any reported good deals for him. so he stays, at least we get a good start every fourth or fifth day.

    1. We may get a good start but no run support. The team has not supported him for the past two years.

      Moving him pushes us forward with the rebuilding process. You want to get the right deal but you have to understand that the price may be just a bit too high vis-a-vis other starters that were moved this offseason.

      1. David how does it? if we take what has been discussed so far. A catcher who might not hit and a 3-4 starter; How does that help us. You have a18 year old catcher who in two years will be ready defensively. and you have about 5 potential 3-4 in windle, biddle, Morgan nola. and others we got in trades. The rush to trade this guy for a below fair trade value is amazing. Lets just say dump his salary and make the Phillies make more money. I still haven’t got over the schilling trade, do these propose deals and it will be a another long time until we win. especially that this team isn’t as of now. going big after Cuban talent and latin America talent.

    2. I think they’ll be one more rumor mill run on Hamels before spring training opens. Scherzer seems to have signed with the Nats, and I suspect Shields will shine this week. The Shields signing in particular will be interesting (who and how much?)

      1. The Nationals signing of Scherzer will create concern among the top NL teams and the losers of the James Shields sweepstakes. The Phillies should get some good offers for Cole and they should not settle for a mediocre return.

  23. Any trade for Hamels better include a future ace of the pitching staff . what I don’t understand is why we need a catching prospect when we have so many down on the farm. I’d rather have more pitching and maybe and outfield prospect.

      1. David Price is a free agent next winter.

        Jordan Zimmerman is a free agent next winter.

        A lot of speculation and belief that Zack Greinke will use his out clause and hit the market again next year.

        I do not want any pitchers in a Hamels trade, only elite position talent.

        ELITE.

  24. Rapp already there Joseph if he can stay and we have a guy going into reading this yr. The ace I’m better be a stud pitcher.

  25. Grullon 18 yrs and stared in lakewood this yr His first yr in pro ball . His arm 1 of the best In baseball. He could be a plus plus defender as a catcher. Grullon hit tool is only a question mark because he’s so young . I just we need outfielder’s now more then we need cather’s.

    1. For the sake of accuracy, Grullon’s first pro year was 2013 in the GCL where he hit .273 in 121 AB. In 2014, he was called up to Clearwater for 2 starts (2 for 10) in April during XST before reporting to Lakewood at the end of XST(.237 in 76 AB). By mid-June he was in Williamsport where he completed the rest of the season (.225 in 187 AB). He was probably supposed to begin the season in Williamsport, but several catchers started the season on the DL and he got a chance to see some game time at higher levels instead of XST games in April and May.

  26. James: You mentioned the four teams that are talked about most. Why are the Pirates not being mentioned? They have some of the best high-end prospects (1-7); Hamels could put them over the top in the NL Central; and with cash going to the Bucs, Hamels would be affordable.

      1. Pittsburgh is BLOCKED by Hamels, who Jimmy Rollins nicknamed “Colywood”.

        Hamels is not going to Pittsburgh.

        Ed Wade traded Curt Schilling to Toronto for Roy Halladay and Jose Cruz Jr.

        Curt Schilling told Wade “No you didn’t, I’m not going there.”

        True story.

  27. While mostly agreeing with his points, I would like to push back slightly on Jame’s first point. I think he misses the real argument about salary. In fairness, so do some of the people on the “other side” of the argument.

    IF you compare Hamels contract to other FA contracts, it’s not a bad contract at all. It’s no bargain really on an AAV basis, but it is shorter (at this point) that most of the comparable FA contracts, and therefore better.

    But that’s not the most relevant comparison. He’s being traded for prospects, and those prospects, if they succeed, and going to be far, far, better values from a salary perspective. So the contract isn’t a “problem,” but, in figuring his trade value, you need to take into account the fact that it isn’t a bargain from an AAV perspective.

    People around here don’t LIKE that fact, but that’s how most ML organizations look at it these days, like it or not. It doesn’t mean that Hamels isn’t a valuable asset – he is – but it does affect his value. Some people (not James as far as I know) seem to think that salary doesn’t enter into the equation at all, or does in a favorable manner. They are wrong.

    1. Larry: And you are missing a couple of points yourself, old chap.

      Many of us have recognized that Hamels’ salary is an issue. That is why sending a nice chunk of cash along with Hamels would ensure a max return.

      The other key is that Hamels produces immediately, not five years from now. The contenders interested in Hamels want that immediate production and value it more highly than the theoretically equal or even greater production of prospects five years from now.

    2. Very true Larry. Teams clearly would rather pay a bit more in FA and keep their prospects then trade prosoects for a marginally better contract.

  28. One other issue that James is not guilty of, but some people are … not properly accounting for differences in farm system quality.

    A team with a poor or even mediocre system might will be expected to part with, say, two of their top 3 prospects. But that doesn’t mean that a team with a good to very good system should also be reasonably expected to part with two of their top 3 prospects.

  29. Just exactly what is a top prospect? My definition is that it’s one of the top 100 prospects. I use mlb.com’s list because it’s convenient, but there are a handful of such lists prepared by knowledgeable people.

    What is Hamels worth? Most reasonable people outside the Boston sphere of influence say two or three top prospects. That narrows things down, but that still leaves a wide range of possibilities.

    James thinks that the Phils’ return should include at least one prospect with a very high probability of becoming a major league regular. To me, such a prospect is generally a top 25 guy. James would not send cash unless there is a significant upgrade in the return.

    My position is more aggressive than James’. I would insist on a better package and not hesitate to send $30-35 million to accomplish my goal. After all, Hamels is the only valuable asset we have. If a team wants Hamels, they must give us the package demanded. If forced to add cash, the Phillies should do so instead of settling for a lesser package.

    I want either two top 25 prospects or three top 75 prospects – including a top 25, a top 30-40, and a top 75 for Hamels plus $30-35 million in cash.

    Larry’s position, from which he tends to backpedal, is two top 50 prospects. Despite his claim of an uncanny sense how baseball executives think, Larry has expressed the curious view that sending money with Hamels won’t change the return.

    1. Only one quick response, then to work and you won’t be hearing further from me (partly for lack of time, partly because our conversations always degenerate into “ships passing in the night” as you ignore my points and simply repeat your own):

      On backpedaling, not so much. Though I can see why it looks like that – (a) difference between what I think the market is and what would be a reasonable return, (b) difference between a likely return now and at the deadline, (c) differences between organizations on the other side of the deal.

      On sending cash – I’m not saying it makes no difference, just much less difference than you think it does. Many reasons why, including (but not limited to) an asymmetry in how many (not all) teams view cash in transactions. Basically many organizations want to avoid the appearance of selling prospects for cash.

      On “produces immediately, not five years from now” (your other comment above), some truth to this – that’s why these kind of deals happen at all. But (a) you massively overestimate the discount rate – especially now; things have changed over the past few years in the way most teams value their prospects; (b) some of the names people are salivating over are ready to help the contenders right now. That’s one of the reasons why Betts is a ridiculous fantasy.

      One interesting gloss on the cash issue – it matters more for some teams than for others. I doubt it would matter much in a Boston deal, for example, and for some teams where you would think it would matter – e.g., Pittsburgh – the cash it would take to make the deal work would be much more than 30-35 million. But there is some reason to believe that unwillingness to add cash to the deal torpedoed a deal with the Rangers. Of course such a deal would not have approached the fantasies that you and others have been indulging in, but it might have been worth doing, netting us a couple of good prospects (more or less along the lines that James suggests above)

      1. I think every team, including Pittsburgh, would make room in its budget for a top pitcher at $15 million per for four years, which would be Hamels’ net cost after the Phils send $30-35 million.

    2. Okay, one more quick comment – the “two top 50 prospects” is something I’ve pretty consistently stuck to. But always with caveats. This isn’t a mathematical exercise – that’s attainable but not a guaranteed return. And of course as David says it depends upon the headline prospect – you get a top 25 prospect and the second guy is (at best) a back of the top 100 prospect. Even that is MUCH more likely at the deadline (as is getting 2, as opposed to 1, top 50 prospect). And there are other variables. So it isn’t me backpedaling, just acknowledging that there are a lot of variables in play.

      Now, to address specifically your “ask” – I think that there is some, very outside, chance that a desperate organization that has money to spend – but not TOO much money to spend – and isn’t one of the more analytically driven organizations – and who has those kind of prospects – MIGHT, at the deadline, hand over that kind of package. But I think the changes of all of that coming together are remote to say the least. One in a hundred at best. Which is why, given a more reasonable/likely offer – along the lines that James advocates for, maybe even a tad less (but not a LOT less) – the team should grab it. IMO even that offer likely will have to wait for the deadline.

      I would agree that the unwillingness of the team to include cash (or much cash) might, depending on the organization on the other side of the deal) hurt the return. Again, not nearly to the extent that You think.

      1. Part of the problem with your scenario is that it’s hard for me to think of even one organization that (1) is “middle market”(richer teams won’t care enough about the $30 million, poorer teams will need more than 30 million to afford Hamels), (2) has the prospects, (3) isn’t terribly analytically driven, and (4) is likely to be competitive at the deadline. And all that is required for there just for the possibility of such a hugfe overpay. Maybe the Padres?

    3. Okay, letting distractions get the better of me today, but one last point. On “uncanny sense how baseball executives think” – I don’t claim that. What I claim – and it’s a modest claim – is an easy to obtain understanding – based on knowledge of the deals that actually happen (and those that don’t) of the trade market as it is. Now, the underlying inferences about what drives that market – i.e., “how baseball executives think” – that I know much less about. I make reasonable inferences from the facts, but those inferences could be wrong.

      But at the end of the day, the underlying thinking of baseball executives doesn’t matter. What matters is the market, and we have a pretty clear understanding of that. Sure, there are outliers – but it’s crazy to turn down a good deal – if, in fact, it is a good deal – on the outside chance that, at some point, a desperate executive will offer you an amazing deal.

      1. Larry – Although you may not be able to tell, a lot of my comments to or about you are not serious and are made for my own amusement.

        Believe it or not, I agree with most of the things you post, and I think some of your comments are excellent.

        We disagree on what the Phils should get for Hamels. The only other disagreement with you that I remember was a little dust-up we had a couple of years ago about which set of metrics best measures a pitcher’s effectiveness.

  30. I have stayed firm on my belief that the quality of the first prospect determines the rest of the package.

    Nobody is giving up three top prospects. It is not happening.

    Given the contracts just signed in free agency and over the past year for pitchers salary is definitely not an issue.

  31. I am interested in reading your views on the following comparison:
    Bogaerts and Swihart vs. Profar and Alfaro.

    Both Profar and Bogaerts are formerly elite prospects, still very young, but both with chinks in their armor.

    Which of the two pairs do you prefer and why?

    The second comparison is Betts vs. the Cubs’ Soler. Which do you prefer and why?

  32. The one point that I remain confused on is why they don’t use their considerable balance sheet to increase the prospect return. Imagine the package they could get if they offered Hamels at half price? Stud #1 pitcher locked up for 4 years at $10 mil/year.

    And they are offloading salaries anyway, so if they get young, controllable players in return, then their budget should be able to afford it.

    Hinkie is using this strategy to quickly acquire assets, so it is not like their isn’t a comp in the city showing them how to do it.

    Doesn’t make sense to me.

      1. I didn’t “forget that part of the deal.” I think the people on this blog love to take a long term approach and value prospects greatly. But GMs are under pressure to win or they find themselves out of a job. You can’t be building for the future forever.

        Every year there are teams that go for it. And salary is really important when they do. Much more important than a 20 year old 3 years away from POTENTIALLY making an impact.

    1. I think that the answer is that a team like the Red Sox don’t care about $ being added to a Hamels deal. They value their prospects more than $. The talk about the Rangers needing $ from the Phils is speculation, and completely failed to name any prospects allegedly being offered with or without $. The Pads don’t really need the $ and I don’t know how much I value Hedges, so the proposed trades don’t excite me. And, the new entry, the Pirates are going to need a lot more than $30Million form the Phils. and the pirates have not shown any interest in selling their top tier talent. The better question, I think, is why the Phils didn’t use their $ to get Castillo or Tomas, or in prior years any of the other Cuban or Japanese talent available. That would have gone a long way to minimize the disaster that we are in the midst of.

      1. YOAN MONCADA

        Worked out for the Yankees today.

        Worked out for the Giants yesterday.

        Comcast gave John Middleton $6 BILLION to stuff his Cayman Island bank accounts with more billion$?

    1. Tony, agree with your comment and if Hamels was traded for that return then RAJ and Pat GIllick would have to run for their lives as fans stormed CBP.

    2. They got more than fair value. I don’t know what people saw in Gallardo.

      Milwaukee got a good deal selling high on someone who was 29 years old, slipped back from his best season in 2010, and paid $10.5 million for a 8-11, 3.51, 108 ERA+ season last year.

      I see more of a 4 or 5 starter than an ace. Even in his best years he never logged workhorse type innings. He barely averages 6 innings per start.

      1. And lest we forget……Y Gallardo is a FA after 2015. So they get one year then either negotiate to keep him or QO him.

          1. That’s smart, and I think it’s what we’re starting to do now. No one is worth anything (except maybe a draft pick), if they just walk away, so if you’re not sold out to win, trade anyone who has any value before they leave.

            1. The A’s did the same thing with Donaldson, 29 year old (in his case late bloomer) and I think a couple of other teams traded 29 year olds who were about to reach free agency.

              Let someone else overpay and get some prospects back in return.

              I like the idea. People will harp on teams but those are cheap articles.

            2. Sort of a moot point for the Phillies, who don’t really have anyone in that category. If they did, in their CURRENT situation, you could argue that they should do that.

              As a GENERAL rule, and this is as much a response to David as it is to you, the teams that follow that strategy are the small market teams who by and large can’t afford the pending FA contracts. For mid and, especially, big market teams, the strategy is (and should be) to lock those kind of players up early with a long term deal.

              Obviously some players will want to test the FA waters. For those guys it makes sense SOMETIMES to trade them. Again, more a response to David than to you, since you added the “not sold out to win” qualifier. But the “except maybe a draft pick” looms larger than you might think. Given the current market, sometimes the prospect return will be less than, or not much more than, the value of the pick.

            3. @Larry The Phillies already traded their looming free agents, in Rollins, Roberto Hernandez, Byrd, Thome, etc.

              And this should especially apply with the older folks rather than younger regardless of market size. I have no problem locking up a 28 year old star for 6-7 years with a large market team, but in the case of mid-30’s players, any team would be better off trading them away.

              I think it’s pretty rare that a draft pick netted from QO’ing a player exceeds a trade return. Usually they’re only mediocre, and don’t get a draft pick, or they’re a star, and would get a strong return anyway.

            4. Yeah, I was mainly reacting to David’s post I guess – and specifically the Donaldson reference. That deal arguably made sense given the A’s salary limitations (or not, only time will tell), but that’s not the kind of deal that a big market team like the Phillies should emulate.

  33. That may be theoretically accurate, but at what point is eating $ from Hamels contract worth the return? Which team or teams is giving you a massive return because it only costs $50 Mill rather than $100? I don’t think that dramatically increases the number of teams bidding on Hamels or dramatically increases the return. The team has to think Hamels makes them a legit contender. Use Pittsburgh as an example. You think they give their top 3 prospects for Hamels and $50Million? I don’t. KC is another one. A lot of teams could use him. I think the $ only increases the teams that may bid, but does not get you what it should in return.

    1. Well I think you’re mostly right, but the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

      Here’s the thing: there’s a crude method of valuation which values players based upon salary and expected value. I think that system has some value but is far from perfect. But IF you buy into that system of valuation, paying (say) 50 million of Hamel’s contract does “buy” you some nice prospects.

      But there are two problems with that model. The first is that the method ALSO places a very high value on prospects, because they are (in the aggregate) huge bargains in terms of salary. The second is that teams don’t (entirely) follow that model – mainly IMO because teams are adverse to “selling” prospects.

      Regarding the first problem, there seems to be a school of thought around here that you should evaluate veterans using that model, but not prospects. Oh, no one SAYS that’s what they are doing, but that’s what they are doing. Look at prospect values historically (i.e., what value does (say) an average top 25 prospect produce pre-free agency versus likely salary), top prospects are enormously valuable. Yes, risky, but when the risk pays off (and that’s very frequent for top prospects), it pays off big. And it’s THAT insight which has changed the dynamics of the trade market dramatically over the past few years. Sure, not EVERY GM looks at it that way, but most do. And increasingly so.

      Now, all that said – I do think there are teams who will sweeten the deal if a lot of money changes hands. But not every team, maybe not even most teams, and even when it happens, not enough to yield a “massive” prospect return. And it seems to me that the evidence that this is so, while not conclusive, is quite strong.

      1. You guys are missing the point. It only takes one bidder to generate a fair return.

        And I think you are all overstating the budget flexibility that big market teams have. Boston does not have an unlimited budget. They have to stay within an ownership imposed spending cap.

        Let’s take the extreme example. Let’s say that the Phillies agree to pay 100% of Hamel’s contract? Who would argue that would not maximize return?

        Now that is unrealistic, but there is a threshold north of zero by below $20 mil where it still works for teams to pay up in prospects.

        1. I have heard so much talk on cole, The bottom line is, he isn’t going anywhere unless they are blown away. Ruben knows he has to nail a deal for cole. The team knows it too. the fo and scouts jobs would all be on the line. if they blow this deal.

        2. You have to have a team willing to sell prospects for that to happen.

          The new CBA puts a focus on developing prospects. In the past (old CBA) teams were more willing to sell prospects but under the new CBA that practice is not popular as teams start to hoard prospects.

            1. Right. Selling prospects? I’d say any acquiring team is much more satisfied with having Cole Hamels in their rotation over the $8 mil or so the Phils could send their way.

              Sending cash also increases the number of potential trade partners. The Padres won’t be acquiring Cole without some cash coming back their way. I’d say that it’s not only, not unlikely that cash will be part of any exchange with any team, but highly likely,

        3. Your problem v1 is twofold. Now, of these two issues, one is I think more clear cut than the other. So let’s start with the clear cut one:

          Even if adding money has the significance that you think it does – and it clearly has SOME significance, more for some teams – it doesn’t buy you the prospect haul that you think it does. That’s so because you, and others, are undervaluing prospects. Undervaluing not in some abstract sense, but in the market sense. That’s PARTICULARLY true when dealing with a team like Boston. For example, EVEN IF you paid 50% of Hamels’ salary, Boston would laugh you out of the room if you suggested Hamels for Betts straight up.

          The second problem – slightly less clear cut. Not in the sense that I could be wrong entirely – clearly what I am about to say is true to some extent. But I could be overestimating the effect. SOME teams, for whatever reasons – appearances or otherwise – seem reluctant to (in essence) sell prospects, which is essentially what you are proposing.

          As for “Boston does not have an unlimited budget,” that’s true. But there’s more than one way for them to react to that reality. The available evidence – and it is abundant – is that, given the following choices, they would choose option 3:

          (1) Go over the cap.
          (2) “Sell” prospects to get an ace starter.
          (3) Forgo an ace starter.

          Maybe that’s foolish, but that seems very much to be Boston’s mindset. Denying that is the worst kind of magical thinking

          Now, does any of that mean that adding 50 million wouldn’t possibly increase the prospect haul? No, it doesn’t. But I never said it wouldn’t (anon did, but as you can see I partially disagreed with him). It does mean that the ESPN writer, and you, are overestimating what adding the money would get in terms of increased return. Probably by a lot.

          1. I will say this – I would love to know the details of the negotiation with the Rangers. I rather suspect that a certain amount of financial flexibility on the Phillies’ part could have generated a solid return. Though ironically enough a return that still would have disappointed David and Derek and many other Phillies’ fans.

          2. Larry we talk past each other because you don’t read what I write and you respond to your projection of what you think that I mean. I didn’t propose a prospect package..so how could you say that I am undervaluing prospects? that entire diatribe had nothing to do with my comment.

            The stats are, only 25% of the BA top 100 make it in the bigs and even fewer become stars. Example: Meyers, Wil or Brown, Dominic.

            You suggest that there is a 100% certainty that top prospect become a star. It is not even close.

            If you are a MLB GM and you project that Hamels 4+ WAR gets you to the playoffs, you are saying it is a bad move to trade players that are 2+ years away and have have a 75% chance of not being successful?

            Anyone trained in negotiations (i.e. all GMs) uses a technique called a decision tree. The decision tree applies probability of outcomes against expected outcomes. The probability of Hamels performing at his historic averages is extremely high. The probability of a AA pitcher being a star are extremely low. Even if the expected outcome is high, the math says do the deal.

            The big constraint, however, is whether can they afford it. It is all about the Benjamins.

            1. You know, I don’t know if I EVER, in my over 5 decades, have read a clearer example of projection. You say “you don’t read what I write and you respond to your projection of what you think that I mean” – and then go on for paragraphs about what you imagine that I said (but that I didn’t).

              And … you’re right, these discussions are fruitless, though for a different reason than you say (that is, almost precisely the opposite reason. For that reason, and, believe it or not, a lack of time, I won’t respond to most of what you said. But as for “You suggest that there is a 100% certainty that top prospect become a star.” Of course I never said anything like that. But if you look at the AVERAGE value – that is, stars, decent regulars, busts, fringe major league players, all averaged together – of a top 25 prospect it’s very high. Tens of millions of dollars. I don’t have the link handy, or time to find it, but studies have been done – and, whatever quibbles YOU may have with those studies, they are accepted by most major league organizations.

              And that is the bottom line here – whether I value prospects and veterans “correctly” in some abstract sense is irrelevant. What matters is how major league organizations value them. And a MASSIVE amount of evidence, direct and circumstantial, exists demonstrating that they don’t value them the way that you (and a few other fans) value them. All the crying and whining in the world won’t change that.

          3. From Boston’s point of view they do not need the ace starter RIGHT NOW.

            Theo has a way of looking at every season. The first third is finding out what you have, the second third is getting what you need, and the final third is the push to the playoffs.

            Boston can wait 54 games to see how their parts mesh and how other potential aces are pitching and then go out and get what they need.

            Their seat at the negotiating table is one of waiting to see how everything shakes out before making a move.

            1. Agreed. Their strategy seems to be let’s get a bunch of #3’s and see what we have. We can always acquire a top pitcher later. But maybe one of our 3s breaks out. That is a very smart strategy for Boston.

      2. Let’s say that Hamels had signed a team-friendly deal that had four years remaining at $15 million per. You are saying, in effect, that the Phils would get a better return in that scenario than they can by sending Hamels and enough cash to make Hamels’ contract the equivalent of a $15 million per year deal. And your explanation is that teams treat the two situations differently for PR or psychological reasons. Methinks you pulled that one out of your culo, Larry.

        Why don’t you apply the reasoning of your comment above to a prospect like Addison Russell, a pitcher like Samardzija, and a GM like Beane. I look forward to another example of twisted logic.

        You claim to have your finger on the pulse of baseball and to know what the typical deal for Hamels would be. Pretending that to be true, I ask simply why settle for the typical deal? I am not suggesting the Phils shoot for a Bartolo-Colon, once-in-a-lifetime deal. How about insisting on the year’s best deal and using the last five years as a guide to what the best deal of the year should look like. That would be an eminently reasonable approach to trading an ace pitcher like Hamels, who happens to be your one remaining valuable asset.

        No, Larry. Your problem is that you sound too much like the Boston media and their blogs. You are an advocate for the other team and want to pick the Phillies’ pocket. Nice try, but no dice, old chap.

        1. That’s not what I’m saying, though I see how it might appear that that is what I am saying. Let me break this down in a way that might clarify.

          What I’m MAINLY saying is this: even assuming that adding 50 million to the deal (that’s mathematically what it would take, including the vesting year, which you have to) is functionally the same as trading Hamels with a (hypothetical) 15 million per year deal, you STILL don’t get a massive return. You get a better return, obviously, but not a massive return. Why? Because you guys are misreading the market. And my level of certainty on this point is basically 100% (with the caveat that, if one excludes the truly fanciful scenarios, there’s a small chance that a desperate GM overpays).

          My second argument is what you are reacting to in your first paragraph, and I realize that it is obscuring my first (main) argument. Let me phrase it as a question: is there any difference in trade value between Hamels at 25 million per year with 50 million paid by the Phillies, and Hamels at 15 million per year. And my answer to that is much (MUCH) more tentative than my conclusion above. My answer would be “maybe.”

          Let’s start by saying this: IN FACT the kind of deal you guys are proposing doesn’t happen. Maybe once (Rodriguez – though that contract, for it’s time, was arguably not a good contract.) Other than that, has there ever been a deal in modern ML history where a team trades a star level player with a reasonable contract, AND kicks in over 10 million dollars cash? I think the answer is no. Correct me if I am wrong. I am pretty sure that (Rodriguez arguably excepted) every time that much money has changed hands (and I think those deals can be counted on one, maybe two, hands) the player going along with the cash has had a bad contract. (Also, if you want to use the Rodriguez deal as a precedent, keep in mind that the return, while quite good, wasn’t “massive.”)

          So why don’t those deals happen? I don’t know. Maybe it’s lack of imagination on the part of teams trading the veteran. Or maybe – just maybe, I’ve admitted this is somewhat speculative – it’s because of teams wanting to avoid the perception of selling prospects. Now, that could easily be wrong. But, given that IN FACT such deals don’t happen, maybe you guys should at least consider the possibility that there is a REASON for that.

          But, forest for the trees – I could be 100% dead wrong about that, and you guys are STILL way off base, simply because you are misreading the market value of veterans versus prospects. Even veterans with “bargain” contracts (or the equivalent).

          As for Beane, I’ve answered that probably 40 times, maybe more. And one of the frustrating things about this is that you have never, even once, even tried to respond to my argument. Well, argument is too weak a word. It’s pretty much iron clad fact. Beane isn’t in the market for an ace, and his valuation methods – which, like them or not, are quite unique (and are guided to a large extent by his team’s financial circumstances). And his valuation methods give you NO guidance, NONE AT ALL, as o how other GMs value veterans and prospects.

          Bottom line: the belief that a team should EXPECT an equivalent return to the best comparable deal of the past five years is bizarre, irrational magical thinking. Trade markets – NO markets – work that way. Ask for that sure. Expect it? No. Now, maybe they decide to walk away if they don’t get it. That’s a defensible reaction, and one which I don’t entirely disagree with.

          1. I agree with Larry once again.

            The part about people misreading veterans versus prospects frustrates me because the new CBA puts a higher value on prospect development.

            Since prospects have a higher value right now you get less back in a trade.

            Using old trade data is not valuable because the market is being set by deals made this offseason.

            The Phillies got very good value in the Byrd trade.

            The market for a starter is being determined by trades like Latos not deals done under the old CBA.

            1. Huh?
              The CBA has been in effect since 2012 and expires next year.
              Explain again how it alters the current trade scenario now vs 3 years ago?

            2. As teams move forward and gain a greater understanding of the nuances within the CBA values for prospects are adjusted accordingly.

              Therefore, as teams begin to horde prospects they put a greater value on said prospects so to trades get done the returns diminish due to higher values of said prospects.

              It is like having $1,000 on a stock. It may have been priced at $10 allowing you to buy 100 shares but now that the price is $20 you can only afford 50 shares. We are at the point where the price has moved from $10 to $20.

          2. Surely, you must remember a trade made by the guy who could be engineering a Hamels trade: the Thome trade to the Chisox when the Phils ate a bigger % of the remaining salary on Thome’s contract than I am proposing on a Hamels deal.

            The fact that you automatically assume the fifth year shows how RedSox-centric you are.

          3. “Massive return” is your phrase, not mine.

            In any case, be more precise in describing your position. If you think the Phillies can get two top 50 prospects with no money, how much better is your expected return if Hamels’ salary is reduced to $15 million per, still assuming just two prospects?

  34. I agree with you that #1, it only takes1 bidder, and #2 that adding $ to Cole Hamels offers the receiving team a better deal. I agree that there will, therefore, be more teams interested. My problem, though, is that I don’t believe that many more teams will be in the Hamels sweepstakes, and I disagree that the return for Hamels would be a massive return. I was disagreeing with the writer of the article that you cited. Maybe you get a little more for him from that Playoff bound small market team. But I don’t think that you get the haul that the article inferred. And, not even close. And, I am not suggesting that I agree withthat concept. I am one of those who thinks that Hamels should bring a large return, without any $ changing hands. The problem is, as LarryM suggests, there are not GMs around baseball who agree. I think RAj has done a terrible job. But, I think that if the return was sufficient, he would add $ to a Hamels deal. Heck, he did in a JRoll deal, and Jimmy was only making $11M. I think that, even with $, the return for Hamels is way short of what should be acceptable.

  35. Another article from the national media suggesting the same thing

    http://www.thegoodphight.com/2015/1/21/7869211/should-phillies-help-pay-a-team-to-trade-for-cole-hamels

    The difference between what LarryM is arguing and what I am arguing (using these two articles as support) is that LarryM thinks the issue is 100% a lack of willingness for GMs to part with prospects that are 2-3+ years away from contributing at the MLB level and have a 75%+ chance of failing.

    I believe that the issue causing the lack of a deal is that the cost of the contract and prospects is too high relative to the alternatives. Every GM wants Hamel, and I believe every GM would gladly trade packages suggested above for him…so long as they can also afford him within their budget. We already know that the Rangers (James’s preferred trade partner) couldn’t make it happen due to money.

    RAJ has been openly saying that he will NOT pay down Hamels. He wants to offload the entire contract AND get a massive haul. I have come to conclude that that is not achievable.

    Therefore, I am arguing for opening up the bidding by decreasing the contract value. That is NOT the same as buying prospects, because we are trading one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball in return.

    1. And, I read the article that you referenced, and again, it makes sense. It also says that the Phils need to hit a Home run with any Hamels deal. I also agree there. But, nowhere does it suggest the level of prospect that should be received in return. Certainly, more teams would be interested, but it also says that prospects are more valued than ever by GNs. That is the problem. I believe you get a few more teams involved, but do not get the level of prospect that Hamels should get. And, for the record, Addison Russell for Cole Hamels and $ is not nearly a sufficient enough return for me. I would rather keep Hamels.

      1. Fair counter point. My point is, we (the fans) really have no way of knowing what the package might be because the cost of Hamels with a full package and contract is prohibiting bidding.

            1. Which is why they are not in the discussion in the first place.

              If the national media is suggesting it then you can bet it is wrong.

              IMO, the only decent sports media platform is The Players Tribune. Yahoo, ESPN, SI, and others are just garbage. TheScore is good but it is all relative to the garbage out there.

    2. I don’t have the time today to enter deeply into this argument. I want to make one point. It’s NOT my core point by any means. But in terms of “buying” prospects:

      I think for some teams – mid market teams – that’s probably not a fair characterization. Paying down the contract is a way for those teams to be possible trade partners at all.

      But for big market teams who CAN afford Hamels, it is a different story. Yes, for those teams the money still matters, but they COULD do a deal without money (or much money) changing hands.

      For THOSE teams, adding money (in exchange for more prospects) is, yes, essentially “selling” prospects. I think that’s both the reality and the perception. And it’s reflected in some of the people around here who are advocating such a deal, who pretty explicitly talk about “buying” prospects. And it’s something that teams seem IN FACT reluctant to do. For whatever reason.

      I also think there is a reluctance – not just for the Phillies – to pay a huge amount of a departing contract when that contract is (as many people have pointed out) already pretty reasonable. When a ton of money has changed hands as part of a deal, it has always been for players with bad contracts. What people are asking the Phillies to do – throw in 30 or 40 or 50 million (and IMO 30 would not be enough to get teams like Pittsburgh involved) for a player who has a decent contract to begin with – is basically without precedent. And I GET that some people think that shouldn’t be a barrier to doing so. My point, simply, is that, if you combine the fact that EVEN ADDING THAT KIND OF MONEY isn’t going to bring back a “massive” return, with the unprecedented nature of adding that much cash for a decent contract – it’s kind of unreasonable to expect the Phillies to do it.

      Again, that’s not the core argument. At the end of the day, the core argument is that major league organizations simply value prospects, and veterans, differently that the optimists around here do.

      But it’s not black and white. I’ve said a number of times that money would likely make a difference – just not as big a difference as many around here think.

      1. Okay, one more quick point. This is something I said previously, but got lost in the argument.

        The article quoted here, and other articles which advocate paying a huge chunk of his salary, use a method of evaluation which basically values players on a performance versus salary model. EVEN IF you accept that model, it cuts both ways. That model places a relatively low value on Hamels (because of his contract) and a pretty high value on prospects (because of their bargain salaries).

        Now, one can question that model. I do to some extent. But you can’t have it both ways. And that’s what some optimists around here are doing – they want to ignore the parts of that model which place a relatively low value on Hamels (if the Phillies don’t kick in a lot of money) and a high value on prospects – but accept the part of the model that says that paying down the salary will help a deal.

        Which it would. But in a deeper sense, these are actually very depressing articles if they are correct. They aren’t really saying that you get a massive return for Hamels if you kick in a bunch of money. They are saying that, in order to get a good – acceptable – return, the team would need to kick in tens of millions of dollars. That’s actually a lot more pessimistic than even I am.

  36. Just so you understand, I hope you are absolutely correct. I want nothing more than for the Phils to be a contender, and I would pay Hamels’ entire contract if I could get a Betts and Swihart. But, I do not believe that. I want to be wrong. I want LarryM to be wrong. And, RAJ is not asking for guys 3-4 years away. He is looking for top talent who will play for the Phils within a year. That is the cream of the prospect crop. I think Hamels deserves a return like that. But I do not believe it is happening. You can pay all the $ that you want and not get appreciably better in return. I believe you get the same level of prospect return that you are currently being offered, just from more teams. Again, I would love to be wrong, and you be right.

  37. Anyway, I know this is a Hamels site, but if there is any truth to a Papelbon trade to Milwaukee, that would be great. He is a guy that you can call addition by subtraction.

    1. Addition by Subtraction? I get he makes a lot of money and is consider a douche, but his numbers don’t lie, I think he has like a 2.45 era as a phillie for 3 seasons and has converted on like 90% of his saves. Hes a valuable player, and if he wasn’t a dbag or signed to a high contract he would be very desirable. You also want to put everything on Giles, who hasnt even had a full season yet, or had batters make adjustments. I get this team is rebuilding but addition by subtraction makes no sense with Pap. Addition by subtraction could make sense with Howard but not Pap.

  38. What I meant was the douche part. I think he has been a very good closer, and I find it curious that it looks like they are close to trading him a day after the Sandberg story came out about a problem clubhouse that he needs to be more on top of. Not that I love Sandberg, but there are too many stories of pap’s attitude being a problem to not have some truth. I was not referring to his actual performance.

    1. The Phillies and the GM will ensure that their due diligence on all Cuban players is thoroughly conducted before doling out one American penny. 🙂

      1. rooco…wasn’t this moron.
        But take the latest Cuban mega-player, Yoan Moncada…..the contractual monies AND the penalty that goes along with it (100%), would be a pretty steep signing.
        Phillies may just wait for the draft to come around, and let all the other teams sign the Cubans.
        Sound fiscal planning if you ask me.

  39. I guess another way of saying this is that I HOPE that the crude valuation methods that people are relying upon are wrong. Because I’d LIKE to see the Phillies get a good return for Hamels. If those models are right, the only way that we get that kind of return is by kicking in 30, 40, 50 million. And that isn’t happening. So as I said, in a very real sense, I’M the optimistic one around here, if one excludes the more extreme fans who are dreaming of (for example) Betts AND Swihart AND Owens.

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