If a team was looking to add veteran lefty Cole Hamels to their team for the stretch drive, they may have to pay more than originally thought, after the 31-year-old tossed a no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs Saturday afternoon.
Ironically, the Cubs were one of the teams interested in pursuing Hamels, who has won 114 games in his 10-year career. Other teams who would like to land the lefty are: the Rangers, Dodgers, Yankees and Giants…all of whom are contending for a playoff spot. Although all of the teams would probably go into the post-season without Hamels, landing him could determine how deep into the playoffs they go.
One would think that the Dodgers would have the upper hand since Hamels was born in nearby San Diego and went to high school at Rancho Bernardo. But Hamels has not completed his tenth season so he would not be considered a “five-and-ten” player…someone who has played ten years and five with the same club. Also, Hamels is NOT a pending free agent, so whatever team picks him up would have to inherit the brunt of a seven-year, $159 million contract. Not too many teams have that kind of money.
Hamels’ no-hitter was the first one thrown against the Cubs in nearly 50 years (Sandy Koufax tossed a perfect game against the Cubbies on September 9, 1965). The no-no was definitely aided by the wind that was blowing in off Lake Michigan. In fact, two unbelievable catches by Odubel Herrera preserved Hamels’ no-hitter. The 41,683 fans who witnessed the game saw Hamels walk two and struck out 13 while throwing 129 pitches.
Now, the question is: Will Hamels be wearing the same uniform in his next start, scheduled for Thursday, the day before the trade deadline? There is no doubt that the cost for landing Hamels has gone up. The Phillies, who had to come up with an interim manager when Ryne Sandberg resigned, need help pretty much everywhere. The team is 37-63 (which has them in the cellar of the NL East, trailing division leading Washington by 16-1/2 games…once more, the Phils are 17-1/2 games behind the last wild care spot); are 12th in the NL with a .250 batting average and are next to last in home runs (67). Once more, the pitching staff is next to last in team ERA (4.64) and leads the NL in home runs allowed with 112.
The person tasked with making the right kind of deal for Hamels is Ruben Amaro, Jr. He may be working under the directorship of Andy McPhail, the Special Assistant to the President, Pat Gillick. Gillick has done wonders with other teams as a General Manager, so expect him to be highly involved in any trade talks.
Philly has until Friday at 4:00 EDT, to complete any trades. Hamels may be one of a handful of players who could change uniforms.