“I mean, it’s not what I envisioned,” Hamels said, asked if he thought about this being his final start with the Phillies. “It’s not what I thought. It’s not in my thought process. I think all I’ve been thinking about the past couple days was just to kind of correct my pitching, just being able to be out there and enjoy the moment.”
Hamels had a 19.89 ERA in his past two starts, which had many wondering if he would be traded before Friday’s 4 p.m. ET Deadline. Yes, Hamels has a tremendous track record, but if he threw another clunker, it might have raised too many concerns for teams being asked to part with top prospects.
Of course, the reality is even before Hamels stepped onto the mound, talks about him had heated up.
The Rangers, Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs and Giants are making the hardest pushes for Hamels, according to multiple sources who have spoken to MLB.com over the past couple days. The Phillies and Rangers recently reengaged talks, and a source said the Yankees’ interest is more than just an organization performing its due diligence.
MLB sources confirmed to me this afternoon that the Cubs have been in discussions with the Philadelphia Phillies on a deal for Cole Hamels who has three years left on his current contract plus an option year. While he is an expensive piece he fits the needs of the team to upgrade their rotation while adding a player who would be a part of the team beyond the rest of this season. The Cubs will probably add an additional starter for depth perhaps as a rental type but that is not expected to be a significant acquisition.
My guess: The stalemate is going to continue, maybe right until the final days leading to the deadline. The buyers need a fuller picture of who exactly is available and how those pitchers are performing. The sellers, meanwhile, need the urgency of the deadline to spur action — and in some cases, more time to polish their goods.
I’m not talking about Hamels, who will return to his old self the moment he escapes the losing, angst-ridden environment in Philadelphia. But Cueto’s six-walk performance on Sunday likely renewed concerns for teams already worried about his elbow; his average fastball velocity of 92.68 mph was his second-lowest of the season, according to Brooksbaseball.net (the only game in which Cueto’s velocity was lower was on May 19, after which he missed a start due to stiffness in his elbow).
If Cole Hamels made his final start for the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, it will be a forgettable conclusion to a memorable career.
Hamels allowed five runs on eight hits and struck out one in just three innings in an 8-7 victory over the Marlins, which gave the Phillies their first series sweep since May. Hamels’ poor effort Sunday followed his July 10 start at AT&T Park in San Francisco, where he allowed a career-high nine runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Giants.
“What I’ve done in the last week and a half hasn’t been up to my standards or the expectations of many,” Hamels said afterward.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and club president Pat Gillick have been listening to offers on Hamels for months. They have made it clear that they are ready to pull the trigger when they get one they like. By contract, Hamels has already conceded to accept a trade to nine clubs. He can veto 20 other destinations -– but that doesn’t mean he necessarily would do that.
“I have not been approached,” he said. “When I’m approached, then I can make a decision and provide an answer about a team.
“But I’m open-minded on everybody and everything.”
Even Toronto and Houston?
“Yes,” he said. “I’ve always been open-minded. I will think about everything.”
Hamels’ average fastball velocity in May is 93.59 mph, a monthly figure he did not reach last season until August. His strikeout rate, over a full season, would rank among the best of his career.
His walk rate is dropping, and after allowing seven homers in his first three starts, his home run rate also is returning to normal. Hamels has allowed only one homer in his last seven outings, none in his last four.
I constantly make this point in the fantasy leagues I play in. Of course, what’s considered “fair” is often the sticking point.
“We’re not trying to make the perfect deal. In any deal we make, to put it bluntly, both sides have to be winners,” team president Pat Gillick told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “People think you make a deal to take advantage of someone else. No, that isn’t the case because you want to go back and have repeat business with that person. When you’re making a deal, you want to make a fair deal. He’s not looking to make a deal that’s going to bring the house down.”
“You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone, particularly left-handed, better than him,” Amaro says. “Debate it all you want, from the sabermetrics to scout evaluations, but he is as good as there is going to be out there.
“No respect to the guy out there in Los Angeles (Clayton Kershaw) or to Felix (Hernandez), but he was as good as any pitcher in baseball the second half of last season. If you match up his numbers from late May to the end of the season, he’s as good as it gets. And he tends to be a better pitcher late in the season.”
Spoken like a true salesman, and a GM who thinks he has a Ferrari Testarossa sitting in the showroom and isn’t about to sell it at a Ford Fiesta price.
Week 1, rave reviews. Clay Buchholz at the top of his game, newly minted Rick Porcello with a strong debut marred by one bad pitch, Justin Masterson triumphantly returning, Wade Miley battling the Bombers and Joe Kelly dazzling them.
Second go-round, not so much: Only Porcello so far this week has managed to complete five innings. Buchholz was hit with a seven-spot in the first inning Sunday night in New York and gave up 10 runs (9 earned) in 3⅓ innings in the Bronx. Masterson was gone with two out in the fifth Tuesday against the Nationals, after a yield of seven runs. And on Wednesday, Miley, who pitches like he is on speed dial, was Made Miley in his Fenway debut, out of the game with one out in the third, charged with seven runs.
The Red Sox are doing their level best to improve the run scoring environment.
OK, can the Phillies stop asking the Red Sox about center fielder Mookie Betts and catcher Blake Swihart now?
So, is it over? Will the Phillies simply turn their attention to teams other than the Red Sox when trying to move Hamels? Or might the Phils come to their senses and target the next layer of prospects in the Sox’s bountiful farm system?
I would imagine that the Sox’s view of the Phillies’ stance can be summed up in two words: “Their problem.”