Toronto Blue Jays: Two Days to Impress Cole Hamels
Let’s continue our thought experiment from earlier this morning: if the Toronto Blue Jays are interested in acquiring Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, then they have two days to make their case.
That Balls Outta Here
Toronto is hosting the Phillies at Rogers Centre for the next two days and the timing of the visit couldn’t be better. In fact, it almost seems like Destiny is knocking at the Jays’ door.
The non-waiver trade deadline hits at 4 p.m. EST on Friday. This gives the Jays’ front office two full days to negotiate with their counterparts in the Phillies organization and convince Hamels to lift his no-trade clause. Coincidentally, Wednesday is also the day that the Phillies want to hear the best offers for Hamels – perhaps so they can run across the hall and see if the Jays will match?
If Hamels needs any convincing that Toronto is a serious contender, he doesn’t have to look beyond this morning’s trade between the Jays and the Colorado Rockies. The trade for Troy Tulowitzki reinforces the team’s belief that it’s in a position to push for a playoff spot this year, but it also pushes back the team’s window to compete into next season and beyond. In other words, Tulowitzki is no rental player.
Jul 21, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) reacts to the end of the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
By trading the often-injured Jose Reyes for Tulowitzki, the Jays got younger at short stop, improved their infield defence and added another powerful bat to the lineup. Depending on your thoughts about Miguel Castro and Jeff Hoffman, the Jays absolutely robbed the Rockies in this trade.
Hamels will look at the Tulowitzki trade as a positive sign that the Jays are serious about winning, and it should make the move from Philadelphia – his home for the last ten seasons and the only MLB club he’s ever known – to Toronto more palatable. Aside from a possible aversion to playing in Canada, there really isn’t any reason for Hamels to exercise his trade veto.
This brings up to the potential cost of acquiring Hamels. The Phillies will probably want some combination of prospects and a current MLB-level pitcher in return. We have a tendency of over valuing our own assets, but I’d be okay if the price was Drew Hutchison, Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey. Kevin Pillar‘s meteoric rise to everyday player status makes Pompey expendable and there’s no way the Phillies would expect anyone less than Norris as part of the prospects package.
Jul 5, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Hutchison is there to soften the immediate blow to the Phillies – they’ll need someone to fill Hamels’ stop in the rotation – but it’d leave the Jays in a minor jam as they would remain one regular starter short of a full rotation. On the plus side, we could finally get around the problem of playing Hutchison on the road.
It’s important to note that Hamels’ current contract runs through to 2018 with a team option for 2019. Like Tulowitzki, he’s no rental player and this should make it easier for the Jays to pull the trigger on any potential trade deal. Hamels can help the team win this season, and he’ll be around for the next few seasons to help keep the Jays in contender status.
Is that worth the sacrifice of two prospects and a young pitcher? Yes.
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