As Blue Jays rumors begin to trickle out of every crack, one name continues to come up: Cole Hamels. The Philadelphia Phillies very loosely resemble a baseball team, let alone a professional one, making their impending yard sale a logical match for the pitcher-needy Blue Jays. According to a report from John Heyman of CBS, however, the interest may no longer be mutual.
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There is a list of nine teams that Hamels can be traded to without requiring his approval, and the list does not include Toronto. In recent weeks, though, reports on Hamels have been all over the place regarding his willingness to come north. This back-and-forth has made the rumor exhausting, but the Heyman report suggests that his openness to a Blue Jays deal was more about not rocking the boat.
Heyman notes the reports that Hamels would consider the Blue Jays, but goes on write that “He’s just trying to say the right thing,”, quoting “someone in the know who knows he’s already told the Phillies he’d rather not go to Toronto.”
Last week, Shaun Doyle wrote about the situation at that time, which remained optimistic as Hamels had not outwardly said no. Whether we should take this latest change of tone as the gospel remains to be seen, but at this point, the Blue Jays may find that their time is better spent looking under rocks elsewhere.
Now 31, Hamels is earning a $23.5 million salary this season. That’s the same number he will earn over each of the next three years before a team and vesting option in 2019, which would be his age-35 season.
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Does the hefty financial commitment lower the value of Hamels on a market stacked with short-term rentals, or do the added years of control make him a more attractive asset? With the Phillies on the other end of the phone, it’s a fool’s mission to guess.
While an arm like Jeff Samardzija, who we discussed earlier today, may cost just one of the Blue Jays upper-level prospects, a pitcher like Hamels would cost several. When Alex Anthopoulos aims big, rival general managers will begin to reply with names like Jeff Hoffman, Daniel Norris, Dalton Pompey and Sean Reid-Foley. As they should.
It seems as if this is year nineteen of the Cole Hamels trade speculation, and it’s only going to gain steam over the next four weeks. Regardless of how wide the gap grows between he and the Jays, the link will continue to be made, but frankly, Hamels in a Toronto uniform is beginning to seem entirely unrealistic.