The Philadelphia Phillies put veteran starter Cole Hamels on revocable waivers on Wednesday, a process that allows them to pull him back if he is claimed by another team. Late Wednesday evening Mike Missanelli, a sports radio host in Philadelphia, tweeted that his sources say that the Cubs were the only team to put in a claim on the standout starter.
My info sez the CUBS put in the waiver claim on Cole Hamels. Would the Phils trade him there now and would Cole accept?— Mike Missanelli (@MikeMiss975) August 7, 2014
Would the Phillies consider dealing one of the top starting pitchers in baseball and the ace of their staff? Would the Cubs put together an attractive enough offer to convince the Phillies to trade him? Would the Cubs take on the nearly $100 million remaining on his contract that runs through 2018 with a team option for the 2019 season?
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While the Cubs were unavailable for comment late Wednesday evening, I did speak with two major league baseball sources outside of Chicago who believe that the Cubs would indeed be willing to acquire Hamels if he was made available. In addition, it is worth remembering that before Hamels agreed to a $144 million deal in 2012, he reportedly had the Cubs on a short list of teams that he was interested in. ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote about potential waiver deals on Wednesday, and referenced the Cubs and Hamels in several scenarios that make smart baseball sense.
Could the Cubs be interested in Hamels as a staff ace? Most definitely. They could also be putting in a claim to keep other teams from grabbing him which would open up some interesting trade scenarios as Olney wrote. Whether or not Hamels is traded to the Cubs is not the big story here. Yes, a star like Hamels would be a huge addition to the organization, but the bigger message that discussions like these show is that the Cubs are serious about adding impact pitching to go along with the elite prospects that are going to form the core of their team over the next several seasons. Showing the baseball world that the Cubs are again open for business is refreshing and should signal a start of some very interesting times at Wrigley Field. And that’s a long way from the inactivity of the past few offseasons.
Here's a look at Cole Hamels' contract (courtesy Cot’s Baseball Contracts):
Cole Hamels, LHP
-6 years/$144 million (2013-18), plus 2019 option
- Signed extension with Philadelphia on July 25, 2012
- $6 million signing bonus
- 2013: $19.5 million, 2014: $22.5 million, 2015: $22.5 million, 2016: $22.5 million, 2017: $22.5 million, 2018: $22.5 million, 2019: $20 million club option ($6 million buyout)
- 2019 option guaranteed at $24 million if Hamels 1.) has 400 IP in 2017-18, including 200 IP in 2018, and 2.) is not on the disabled list with a shoulder or elbow injury at the end of the 2018 season
- Limited no-trade protection (may block trades to 20 clubs each season); (for 2014, may block deals to all clubs except Atlanta, Boston, LA Angels, LA Dodgers, NY Yankees, San Diego, St. Louis, Texas and Washington)
- At signing, the second-largest contract ever for a pitcher