Phillies send Hamels to Rangers in eight-player blockbuster
After years of trade speculation, Cole Hamels' time in Philadelphia is ending.
The Phillies and Texas Rangers pulled off a blockbuster on Wednesday night, the Phillies sending the ace left-hander and fellow lefty Jake Diekman to Texas in return for six players.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark and MLB.com’s TR Sullivan first reported the deal, and sources have since confirmed the deal to FOX Sports MLB Insiders Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi. Sullivan tweeted late Wednesday night, the "deal is done."
While the names on who is going back to Texas varied as the trade unfolded, FOX Sports MLB Insider Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Phillies are getting major-league pitcher Matt Harrison; minor-league prospects Alec Asher (pitcher), Jerad Eickhoff (pitcher), Jorge Alfaro (catcher) and Nick Williams (outfielder); and a player to be named.
Turns out that player to be named is right-handed pitching prospect Jake Thompson who, according to the rankings, could be the best of the bunch.
Preseason Baseball America rankings: RHP Jake Thompson No. 2 #Rangers prospect, C Jorge Alfaro No. 3, OF Nick Williams No. 5. All to PHI.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2015
The deal will also involve an exchange of money, as the Phillies will help offset the cost of Hamels by giving the Rangers nearly $10 million and taking all of Harrison's contract, according to FOX Sports MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal.
Hamels presently owed ~$81.5M thru 2018 if his option does not vest, ~$95.5M through ’19 if it does. #Phillies greatly reduced TEX burden.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2015
Hamels would become the first pitcher in major league history traded during a season immediately after throwing a no-hitter -- he no-hit the Chicago Cubs on Saturday at Wrigley Field.
"He's definitely a great pitcher," Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland said after Texas beat the New York Yankees 5-2 Wednesday. "Obviously watched the no-hitter the other day, pretty impressive. He's got a long track record of great success. It will be huge for us."
The 2008 World Series MVP was an integral part of the greatest run in franchise history when the Phillies won five straight NL East titles, two pennants and one World Series from 2007-11.
"He's been here a long time, but that's baseball," Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz said following an 8-2 loss at Toronto. "Definitely it's sad when you're around one of your teammates for a long time and then they have to go away."
The rebuilding Phillies, a big league-worst 38-64, traded All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon to Washington on Tuesday. Both players made it clear they wanted to play for contenders.
The Rangers are seven games back in the AL West and four back for the second wild card, but with Hamels under control for four more years, the club envisions a rotation led by Hamels and Yu Darvish beginning in 2016. Darvish is out this year after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
There was thought the Phillies might wait to move Hamels in the offseason after recently hired executive Andy MacPhail officially replaces Pat Gillick, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. pulled the trigger with MacPhail's input.
Hamels was 114-90 with a 3.30 ERA in 10 seasons in Philadelphia. He went 7-4 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 postseason starts and also earned MVP honors in the `08 NLCS.
Hamels has three years remaining in a $144 million, six-year contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2019. He's owed $22.5 million per year through 2018 with a club option for 2019 at $20 million or a $6 million buyout. His option becomes guaranteed at $24 million if he throws 400 innings or more in 2017-18, including at least 200 in 2018, and isn't on the disabled list at end of 2018 with left shoulder or elbow injury.
More Phillies could be on the move before Friday's deadline to trade players without first securing waivers. Outfielders Jeff Francoeur and Ben Revere and righty Aaron Harang could help teams in the pennant race.
Philadelphia would like to deal 2006 NL MVP Ryan Howard but his contract makes it difficult. He's owed $25 million this year and next, and the team has a $23 million option for 2017 with a $10 million buyout.
Howard, Ruiz and Chase Utley are the only remaining players from Philadelphia's 2008 championship team.