With the MLB trade deadline approaching, the number of times Cole Hamels’ name comes up as a potential Red Sox trade target seems to grow by the day. Hamels and the Sox have been connected since - seemingly - the end of spring training, but no concrete trade proposals have ever been reported and as time goes on, a deal seems to make less and less sense for the Red Sox.
The 31-year-old left-hander is 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA this season, but lately he's bee brutal. Over his last two starts, he‘s pitched just 6 1/3 innings, has allowed 20 hits, owns a 19.91 ERA, has walked two and has struck out five.
While it’s only two starts, those numbers are quite alarming to a team that may be interested in his services. It's been reported that the Red Sox have had scouts at both of those games and the Phillies have sent scouts to some of the Red Sox’ lower minor league level games of late. Hamels would have to waive his no-trade clause to come to the Red Sox, which is no guarantee with the position the team is in anyway.
Let’s just say Hamels would agree to be traded to the Sox. Ben Cherington would have to give up a great deal to get him – most likely three high prospects. Just as a hypothetical, say Henry Owens, Blake Swihart and Manuel Margot. By most accounts, that's far too much for a 31-year-old who has pitched in the NL East his whole career.
The Red Sox are seeing first-hand how hard of an adjustment it is for pitchers to adjust to the AL East with Rick Porcello and Wade Miley now on the staff.
In addition, Hamels’ contract goes through 2018, with a team option for 2019 at $22.7 million per year – not exactly a team-friendly deal.
Instead of making a splash at the deadline, it may be best for the Red Sox to take a step back and realize their situation and see that trading a number of their top prospects is probably not a wise decision.
The Red Sox have a number of talented young pitchers coming up in their system in Eduardo Rodriguez, Brian Johnson and Henry Owens, to go along with pitchers under team control in Clay Buchholz, Miley, Porcello and Joe Kelly.
Yes, the team is in desperate need of an ace, but why give up top prospects for Hamels when the team, who likely won’t make the playoffs, can try and sign an ace this offseason without having to give up anything in return?