Say hey, baseball: Padres want Cole Hamels next
Monday morning’s baseball discusses the Padres’ interest in Cole Hamels, the Phillies’ rebuild, and A-Rod’s Sunday activities.
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The Padres traded for Matt Kemp. They traded for Wil Myers. They traded for Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks. It’s been a wild offseason of the Padres — was that description ever used for them before this winter? — but it’s apparently not over. This weekend’s rumor was that the Padres and Phillies are talking about a Cole Hamels deal. The Padres can pitch without Hamels, thanks to Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, and Ian Kennedy, but there are still a whole lot of question marks in that rotation. Cashner has thrown 175 innings once. Kennedy has been up-and-down over the past few years, though he seemed to thrive in 2014. Ross has been productive two years in a row, but he came just far enough out of nowhere to be nervous about. Combine that with the guessing games the Padres are going to play with the inconsistent and oft-injured Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson, and the rotation could be fantastic or the cause of their failure in 2015.
That’s where Hamels steps in, as he’s one of the game’s best arms, at the same level as the recently super-rich Jon Lester, except Hamels is only owed four years and $96 million on his deal. Unlike, say, the Red Sox, for whom Hamels is a five-year, $110 million investment, the Padres aren’t on Hamels’ no-trade list, so they won’t be forced to pick up his option from the start. This is likely because of one or both of these things: Hamels is a San Diego native and any trade there would be a homecoming, or Hamels never envisioned the Padres affording him, anyway. To be fair, none of us envisioned it, either, not until they put on last week’s show.
While initial reports suggested Wil Myers as the centerpiece for a Hamels’ deal, that sounds as if it’s coming from the Phillies’ side: the Padres are intent on keeping Myers, as he’s one guy who might not be a complete embarrassment for them in center in San Diego. They do have the prospects to acquire Hamels, however, as they kept all three of Austin Hedges, Matt Wisler, and Hunter Renfroe despite all their acquisitions, and also have Rymer Liriano sitting in Triple-A because of a suddenly full outfield. It wouldn’t take all four of them to get Hamels, either: the Phillies have been targeting at least one top prospect and a young catcher in trade talks elsewhere, and Austin Hedges is both of those things. He won’t do it alone — the Phillies also want young pitching — but with Norris behind the plate in San Diego until 2019, the Padres can afford to move Hedges if it helps bring them an ace.
- The Phillies have already traded Jimmy Rollins, they’re talking a Hamels trade with the Padres, and apparently told Ryan Howard they were better off without him. So uh, the Howard trade market doesn’t sound like it has any promising leads.
- Alex Rodriguez can’t stop going to football games. He doesn’t seem to care which football game he’s at, even.
- Speaking of A-Rod, you might think his salary makes him a Yankee for life regardless of performance, but there are those who believe he could still be straight-up released given New York’s other moves this winter.
- The Dodgers shook up their outfield by dealing Matt Kemp, but they haven’t named Joc Pederson their center fielder yet. Try asking Andrew Friedman again after the Dodgers move Andre Ethier somewhere.
- The Giants told y’all not to believe that Jake Peavy pushed them out of the Max Scherzer and James Shields sweepstakes, but then came the hints that they’re out on Scherzer and have limited financial flexibility.
- Given this, it seems like Scherzer and the Tigers are going to be sort of forced to reunite. Then again, let’s not count out Scott Boras. It’s only late-December, after all.
- Does that mean the Red Sox are in a one-team chase for James Shields?
- Jason Heyward is only guaranteed to be on the Cardinals for a year, meaning it’s the perfect time to talk negotiating windows for an extension.
- Hey, not everyone is upset about the Jeff Samardzija and Derek Norris trades (and their returns).