A Hypothetical Nationals Trade For Cole Hamels

After a lot of banter about what Cole Hamels might fetch in trade, it was reported earlier today that the Phillies are preparing a “major offer” in an attempt to retain him past this season. It was also reported that the Nationals might be relatively quiet at the trade deadline, given that they have few holes to fill. And that’s true, if Stephen Strasburg doesn’t get shut down. But, if he does get shut down, there is one person who could instantly fill his shoes and keep the Nationals in pursuit of a World Series crown — Cole Hamels.

Well, okay, there are two great options, with the other of course being Zack Greinke, but the notoriously awesome Eric Seidman already tackled that in his post earlier today, where he also ruminated on Strasburg’s workload in the second half. Even if they shut down Strasburg, as planned, they don’t need to go get an arm. Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Edwin Jackson are capable of winning a playoff series or two. The question is, are they capable of winning three? That’s perhaps a little dicier. No matter which side of that answer you fall on though, one thing is clear — the pressure to keep Strasburg in the rotation will mount unless a top-flite replacement is found. And while Matt Garza is a good pitcher, fans would be forgiven for feeling a bit dyspeptic if Garza and his 4.37 FIP slides into a rotation spot filled by Strasburg and his 2.50 FIP. No, the only potential replacement capable of keeping the natives — both inside and outside the clubhouse — restful would be Greinke or Hamels.

And, as it turns out, Washington could offer the Phillies a package that would strongly benefit the Phillies without crippling themselves in the process. As Carson Cistulli noted earlier this week, any premium pitcher being traded — even a rental — is likely to fetch four players. And while the new compensation rules might dampen the return for marquee players, the market, which is likely to have fewer sellers than years past thanks to the second wild card, may cancel that out. As such, let’s take a look at what a four-player package from the Nats to the Phillies might look like.

The first player, and the marquee name, would be Anthony Rendon. The third-base prospect has had an injury-marred professional career to this point, but his injuries have not yet put a stop to the hype train — Keith Law ranked him 44th in his recently-released prospects update, and as Marc Hulet noted in his prospect update this afternoon, the injuries are not necessarily a career killer. And Rendon was the sixth player selected in last year’s draft for a reason. With the Phils having a long-term hole at third base, he could slot in nicely.

Of course, third base for the Phillies also has a current hole, what with the 36-year old Placido Polanco playing like he’s 76, and Mike Fontenot and Ty Wigginton playing like Mike Fontenot and Ty Wigginton. Enter Danny Espinosa. Espinosa hasn’t quite matched the pace from his rookie season, but he would represent a step up over what the Phillies are running out at third base. And when Chase Utley’s contract mercifully concludes following the 2013 season, the Phils could slide Espinosa back over to his more natural second-base position, for what will be his age-27 season in 2014. Having a replacement already in house will lessen the sentimental desire to give Utley one last shot. In addition, having Espinosa would allow Freddy Galvis to slot back into the utility role for which he is best suited. And Washington can part with Espinosa safely, as Steve Lombardozzi is perfectly capable of manning the keystone for Washington.

The third player in the deal would be hot pitching prospect Alex Meyer. Meyer was a hit at the Futures Game in his brief appearance, and has pitched very well in his initial pro campaign, though he is a bit old for his league. Still, his value is up from the start of the season, and he began the season as a top-100 prospect. Every team needs pitching prospects, including the Phillies.

Rounding out the deal we have catcher Sandy Leon. A defensive whiz who has improved steadily with the bat. The Phillies have a nominal catcher of the future already in Sebastian Valle, but he has posted a .299 wOBA in his first go-round at Double-A. In other words, having a second potential catcher of the future wouldn’t hurt, especially one that is major-league ready now like Leon is. He could work his way into the mix with Carlos Ruiz immediately, and be ready to step in for him when he departs after 2013, or ever sooner if Philadelphia tries to capitalize on Ruiz’s career year and find him a new home.

A four player package — two major leaguers, a top-50 prospect (conservatively) and a top-100 prospect. That’d be a pretty great haul for a two-month rental. Now, the Phillies might not want to deal Hamels to an increasingly bitter intra-division rival, but if they can’t sign Hamels to an extension, it’s going to be something they have to consider. The other side of the coin is would the Nats even want Hamels. You’d be correct to be skeptical of such a proposition, since it was barely two months ago when Washington general manager Mike Rizzo used “fake tough” and other unflattering words to describe Hamels. But the pursuit of winning is what should win the day. And while Hamels and Rizzo might not be on the best of terms, Hamels would probably bean Bryce Harper less if they were teammates — especially since Hamels’ agent is likely to remind him that Nationals owner Ted Lerner is one of the richest men in the country. And if Tony D’Amato and Willie Beamen can learn to see eye to eye, and if Jay-Z and Nas can squash their beef, then surely Hamels and Rizzo can come to an accord.

The Nationals have a four-game cushion on the Braves, and have Drew Storen and Jayson Werth on their way back. If Stephen Strasburg doesn’t get shut down, they are a legitimate World Series contender right now. But if Strasburg does get shut down, the team has a choice to make — do the best they can without him and wait to pounce in 2013, or get help now. The Nats will certainly be set up well in ’13 — outside of Edwin Jackson and maybe Adam LaRoche, the team will return intact. But you never know what next year will bring. The Nats are contenders now, and should take the steps to remain that way. A package of Rendon, Espinosa, Meyer and Leon for Hamels would give the Nationals a lethal starting rotation, and would give the team the luxury of being World Series contenders without Strasburg (and who knows, maybe Strasburg could work into games out of the bullpen, where his workload would be lessened). Perhaps Philadelphia and Washington being division rivals would gum up the works, and perhaps Rizzo wouldn’t be willing to gamble a chunk of his team’s future on a player with whom he supposedly has bad blood, but if I can change, and you can change, then certainly Rizzo and Hamels can change…especially if it’s in pursuit of a flag, as flags fly forever.



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Paul Swydan is the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for Boston.com. He has written for The Boston Globe, ESPN MLB Insider and ESPN the Magazine, among others. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan.


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Craig
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Craig
4 years 2 months ago

Garza had a 3.5 FIP for many years in the AL East. You think his 4.50 FIP in the NL Central is going to hold up all year?! I think he’s a bit underrated and will improve in the second half.

Frank Campagnola
Guest
Frank Campagnola
4 years 2 months ago

Garza’s lowest FIP in the AL East was 4.14

Mike Rizzo
Guest
Mike Rizzo
4 years 2 months ago

Harper, Rendon, Morse, Detwiler for Lee and Hamels

Andy
Guest
Andy
4 years 2 months ago

You are clearly a Phillies fan.

LTG
Guest
LTG
4 years 2 months ago

No Phillies fan would write as if Utley were not the most valuable player on the field when he is healthy. He could still be worth ~5 WAR per year at 130 games. A Phillies fan would also know that the prognosis for Utley’s knees is good since his right knee has been fine since his return last season and only his left knee was giving him problems this season.

LTG
Guest
LTG
4 years 2 months ago

But, yeah, I don’t see why the Nats would sell out an even brighter future to solve a temporary problem.

hscer
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Glad this is hypothetical. Too much for 2 months of Cole Hamels. Basically the rest of their farm, plus a 24y.o. MLBer. And, such mortgaging for a WS chase is inconsistent with the reason for shutting down Strasburg in the first place.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
4 years 2 months ago

Right; they’re shutting down Strasburg, they say, because this is all about building a 5-6 year playoff window. Guys like Meyer and Rendon are the reinforcements. Using the Rays metaphor, they’re the Desmond Jenningses to Stras/Zim’s Price/Longoria.

David
Guest
4 years 2 months ago

As a Nationals fan.

No.

Josh
Guest
Josh
4 years 2 months ago

There are nationals fans?

I Agree Guy
Guest
I Agree Guy
4 years 2 months ago

They’re Natinals fans.

Aaron (UK)
Member
Aaron (UK)
4 years 2 months ago

This looks like an overpay (obviously most such trades are) – Espinosa looks like he’s a solid 2-3 WAR player, with latent potential for improvement, under team control until 2017. And they’d be selling low on Rendon given the injuries.

Are you presuming that the Nats can get Hamels signed to an extension as well?

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
4 years 2 months ago

We’ve learned often over the years that Mike Rizzo values character and ships out guys he doesn’t like. He cut one relief pitcher because he “didn’t like his aura.” Hard to see Cole Hamels’ aura being overcome as an obstacle to this trade.

The Greinke trade-and-sign is more likely, methinks.

Aaron (UK)
Member
Aaron (UK)
4 years 2 months ago

Agree Greinke more likely, but Hamels has been very publicly re-building his bridges with Harper (and, by extension, Rizzo) – voting for him as an All-Star etc.

vivalajeter
Guest
vivalajeter
4 years 2 months ago

They didn’t draft Harper because he’s a good guy. They drafted him because of his talent. In the end, if you’re good enough then Rizzo will be more than happy to have you on his team. Sure, he might cut a marginal player because he’s a prick, but that wouldn’t be the case for someone with Hamels’ ability.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
4 years 2 months ago

Still, you can now see Harper very clearly (and very skilfully) aligning himself with what the organization expects of player, in terms of character and “good-guy-ness.”

Ernesto
Guest
Ernesto
4 years 2 months ago

And I’m sure Harper’s “conversion” to good-guy-ness is possible for Hamels too. Rizzo doesn’t give a crap. If he’s good, he’s good. You learn to like your teammates.

Jealo
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Jealo
4 years 2 months ago

I just don’t think the Nationals view themselves as a “win now” team yet. Yes, anything can happen to make them worse next year, but based on the likely scenarios, there’s no reason to grasp at the ring (or take out an expensive rental) too early. If they are going to invest in a major free agent, SP is not a sensible place to do that now.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

No, if for no other reason than they’d be hogging all the pitching.

RobBob
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RobBob
4 years 2 months ago

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

23553
Guest
23553
4 years 2 months ago

I just can’t see it, mostly for reasons you described. Maybe Greinke, but I don’t think that’s terribly likely either. They don’t need a starter long term, Strasburg, Gonzalez, Zimmermann, Greinke/Hamels would probably be better than the Phillies rotation was. If Detweiler can have an ERA below 4.00, as he’s done this season, that rotation is just ridiculous. Someone like Dempster should be fine.

RobBob
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RobBob
4 years 2 months ago

I don’t think the Nats are going to give up Rendon for ANY rental. AAMOF, he’s probably close to untouchable.

HiGuys
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HiGuys
4 years 2 months ago

When did fangraphs turn into bleacher report?

Nats Dad
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Nats Dad
4 years 2 months ago

There is NO WAY on earth that the Nats would make that deal. Many fans freaked out about 4 prospects for a long term Gio. So there is no way they do this for a couple months of Hamels.

David
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David
4 years 2 months ago

Folks freaked about about that deal because it was just 2011 gio. I don’t think anyone is second guessing the deal any more.

John C.
Guest
John C.
4 years 2 months ago

Wrong – Gio was under team control (although arbitration eligible) for four more years. They signed his extension to cover those four years plus up to three more.

Dealing that level of talent (which would be more than they gave up for Gio, IMHO) for two months of Hamels would be certifiable. Even with a contract extension it would be too pricey. OTOH it probably represents what it would take to convince the Phillies to trade Hamels in the division. No sale on either side.

BX
Guest
BX
4 years 2 months ago

Because 2010-2011 Gio walked the kitchen sink.

jj
Guest
jj
4 years 2 months ago

Who are the two major leaguers in ‘A four player package — two major leaguers, a top-50 prospect (conservatively) and a top-100 prospect. ‘

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
4 years 2 months ago

Sandy Leon is on the major league DL.

Derek
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Derek
4 years 2 months ago

Obscene overpay for a two month rental. Espinosa or Rendon each alone would be too much.

Tim
Guest
Tim
4 years 2 months ago

Ill give you Rendon but the Espinosa straight up for Hamels is too much? Really??

gobears
Member
gobears
4 years 2 months ago

Espinosa for… how many years? vs two months of Hamels?

Derek
Guest
Derek
4 years 2 months ago

Espinosa was a 3.5 WAR rookie last year at 2B and would be a SS if not for Ian Desmond. He’s no doubt had a rough first half (but so did Desmond last year). He’s not even arbitration eligible until after 2013.

Unlike a prospect, Espinosa is a proven major league regular. He still has star potential, though he may end up as a 2-3 WAR middle infielder. In my opinion, four full years of such a player – Espinosa’s floor at this point – is an absolutely insane amount to give up for 2 months of anybody, even someone as good as Cole Hamels.

MrKnowNothing
Guest
MrKnowNothing
4 years 2 months ago

any reason Stras can’t be shut down for a month and if it looks like they’ll be in the playoffs come the last week of sept, they just bring him back?

i know that’s kind of … different.

Skob
Guest
4 years 2 months ago

2 options – Ride Strasberg to the playoffs, then see how you do without him OR bench him for 45 days and risk not making the playoffs.

Which do you feel is a better financial decision? Playoffs are far more lucrative and create team exposure. All of which will allow more spending and a better product. It would be more ‘bad business’ than different.

hailey
Guest
hailey
4 years 2 months ago

Don’t think this has much of a chance of happening. Way too much for a two month rental. I think you place too much need on a image replacement for Strasburg. A Garza, Vargas, or Rodriquez makes better sense and wouldn’t cost that much.

Johnny Deformed
Guest
Johnny Deformed
4 years 2 months ago

are you a phillies fan? this is one of the more idiotic posts I’ve seen on fangraphs

hk
Guest
hk
4 years 2 months ago

I’m not saying that the Nationals would do this – or that the Phillies would do it in their own division for that matter – but calling it just a “two-month rental” ignores the 2 to 6 post-season games that Hamels would most likely start for Washington being that the Nats are ~80% likely to make the playoffs. If a team like the Orioles traded for Hamels, it would be more likely be a two-month rental.

mike k
Guest
mike k
4 years 2 months ago

Sorry, but this is one of the most ridiculous posts I’ve seen on fangraphs. Not even passable as a “wouldn’t it be cool if?” hypothetical trade post. The man baseball america called the best overall hitter in last year’s draft and a high ceiling MI for 2 months of Hamels? Are you insane? I know both hitters have knocks against them (Rendon the injuries, Espinosa the strikeouts) but if just one of them figures those things out that’s an all-star 2B for years. Also, who plays 2B long-term for the Nats if they trade both? I don’t know if Lombardozzi is good enough.

If Hamels agrees to sign a reasonable extension, which is unlikely as he has no loyalty to the nats and will probably want to test free agency – I would trade one of Rendon/Espinosa, Meyer, and someone a bit higher than Leon, like Flores. Trading both, even for a long-term Hamels, leaves the Nats with a big hole post-trade in order to plug a hole that doesn’t exist (SP).

23553
Guest
23553
4 years 2 months ago

I’m not sure about other National’s fans, but the me and ones I know (my family) are fairly low on both Rendon and Espinosa. Honestly, losing Meyer would upset me more than either of them. If they were to make a trade for Hamels, or Greinke, I would probably be fine with Rendon, Espinosa, and Leon. Rendon I consider too big an injury risk, and possibly a mistaken draft, and Espinosa has just looked awful this year, and I have somewhat of a hard time. Of course this is probably somewhat a my team sucks thing.

mike k
Guest
mike k
4 years 2 months ago

I’m not saying both are shoe-ins, but both have high enough ceilings that parting with both for a rental seems silly.

Rendon, while he is currently injured, has enormous hitting potential. Espinosa, while he’s currently striking out a ton, has already proven the ability to play superior 2B defense and hit for power (16 HR before All Star break last year). I’d want to give him more time to find his groove.

Also, who plays 2B if you trade both? I don’t think Lombardozzi is a long-term answer, and there’s no one in the minors who can step in at 2B next year. The trade would create a hole at 2B, while plugging up a SP hole that doesn’t exist.

The prospects sent in the Gio trade made more sense because it didn’t create a hole for the Nats – 2 almost-ready pitchers for a rotation that now featured 3 great ones, and a catching prospect when there is Ramos.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 years 2 months ago

Sorry but this is actually the worst article I’ve ever read on this website

Tom
Guest
Tom
4 years 2 months ago

What did a few months of Cliff Lee get? (Smoak, Leuke, Beaven) And that was under the old comp rules where the aquirer was looking at a first rounder and a sandwich pick.

Seems like way too much, even if there was a negotiation window to extend Hamels.

hk
Guest
hk
4 years 2 months ago

At the time, wasn’t Smoak a top 10 prospect hitting .300 / .470 / .540 (albeit in a small sample size) for the Rangers’ AAA team?

Althus
Guest
Althus
4 years 2 months ago

Homerism sometimes leads to silly trade proposals, lets try and keep things reasonable and informed here on fangraphs.

Althus
Guest
Althus
4 years 2 months ago

Honestly Rendon and parts for Garza would be a great deal for the Cubs, much more realistic then this proposal and I fit it all into one sentence.

tmorgan1970
Member
tmorgan1970
4 years 2 months ago

This is pure craziness. I can *maybe* understand letting go of Rendon because he’s not really needed for the next few years, but that’s still a hefty price for twenty starts max, counting the playoffs. If the Nats want to take that risk, OK, maybe with a couple of B-/C+ throw-ins on up.

Espinosa alone, again, maybe. Lombardozzi is a significant step backwards at 2b, but if the Nats believe Rendon can play there, maybe. Danny Espinosa is an underrated asset. Yes, he’s a serious whiff machine, but he plays high quality defense, takes some walks (and HBPs), has some power, and has some speed. It takes a lot of secondary skill to put up over 5 fWAR in 268 games with zero from baserunning, a .232 BA, and a 27% whiff rate.
This, to me, is an even less appetizing option than Rendon, but it’s defendable. Maybe.

Both, though? And more? That’s insane.

dpurps
Guest
dpurps
4 years 2 months ago

Using the method the Carson mentioned on his post the other day, perhaps a deal involving the following players would suffice: Meyer (B); two of Steve Lombardozzi (B-), Destin Hood (B-), and Robbie Ray (B-); plus Dave Freitas (C+).*

Hood, Ray, and Freitas are all pretty raw so they wouldn’t be useful for the Nats in most of the 5-6 year playoff window for which they’re striving. Lombardozzi doesn’t really have a spot right now, and he could play third for the Phils instead of Polanco. Meyer is, of course, the center piece.

*Link to ratings: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2011/12/20/2650433/washington-nationals-top-20-prospects-for-2012

jim
Guest
jim
4 years 2 months ago

you’re kidding, right?

Brian Clayton
Guest
Brian Clayton
4 years 2 months ago

As an extreme diehard Phillies fan, reading this article is interesting to read, but here is my two cents. 1. I do not see the Phillies getting rid of Carlos Ruiz anytime soon. Although the catchers in the farm seem promising, Valle seems to be taking a step back and with Ruiz’s production and a fan favorite I cannot see the Phils trading him. 2. If they traded Hamels to the Nats is it really worth losing one of the best lefties in the game for a few prospects and Espinosa? The only way I could see this happening was if the Phillies and Hamels had an agreement on a deal to lock him up after the season. Otherwise, I couldn’t picture Hamels going to the Nats.

John C
Guest
John C
4 years 2 months ago

The Phillies are 15 games behind the Nationals – 17 in the loss column. They are 12 games out of the second wild card slot, and just as important, have to jump over eight teams to get there. It’s just not happening for them this year. So trading Hamels is losing “one of the best lefties in the game,” yes. But he could be a combination of Sandy Koufax and Steve Carlton, he’s not doing the Phillies any good because he’s only under contract for just over two months. And anything they get for Hamels may help the Phillies in future seasons where they are competitive.

Because it’s for just over two months of Hamels, the package the author suggests is much more than the Phillies are going to get for trading Hamels. Other teams can read a calendar, too. It’s certainly more than the Nationals should have any interest in paying, probably even if they agree with Hamels on an extension. Now, I can see the Phillies refusing to make this deal (again, moot because the Nats aren’t offering) because it’s the Nationals, a division rival. But other teams aren’t going to be doing the Phillies any favors.

hk
Guest
hk
4 years 2 months ago

I, too, am a Phillies fan. To me, they should trade Hamels for the best deal possible, whether it’s to Washington or not. After all, he’s going to be a free agent after the season and the Phils will have a chance to re-sign him. Since this year’s shot, they might as well get as much as they can. Having said that, I don’t think Washington would give up what was suggested in this article, but if they would, count me in.

jim
Guest
jim
4 years 2 months ago

phillies should keep hamels and trade lee

hk
Guest
hk
4 years 2 months ago

Lee is owed over $93M for the next 3 seasons plus 2.5 months. The Phillies would have to eat too much of Lee’s contract to make just about any trade worthwhile. The Phillies should sign Hamels, exceed the luxury tax if necessary in 2013 and keep the payroll below the $189M luxury tax limit in 2014. It’s doable if they are willing to pay the tax in 2013, which is the price that they’ll have to pay for hiring Ruben Amaro, Jr. as GM.

Curtiss
Guest
Curtiss
4 years 2 months ago

The reason that it is so hard to make a trade thread about the nationals is that there are so few legitimate needs. The only thing they truly need is a CF who can hit. If Hunter Pence or Michael Bourn is on the market then the Nats might go for a deal. Outside of that All Star level CF the Nats have better options in house than they would be getting in the trade. Laroche and Morse have 1B and LF locked down through next season. Behind them is Tyler Moore, who is a solid fielder and a terriffic hitter. Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper fill out the outfield, with Roger Bernadina in support. Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores can lock down the catcher spot, but they have top prospects at that position as well. SS and 2B are Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond supported by Steve Lombardozzi. Ryan Zimmerman has 3B on lockdown, and Rendon is coming up behind him.

The only one of their rotation pieces that will be lost next year is possibly Jackson, who they can easily replace with Lannan from in their system. Their bullpen is 10 deep and mostly under team control for 2 more years. With all of these pieces in place, it is no wonder that articles about the Nationals trade rumors seem a little out of place.

Cliff
Guest
Cliff
4 years 2 months ago

Some of these comments are the dumbest things I’ve ever read….these are all the nationals “fans” that, well, didn’t exist until about 3-5 weeks ago. Most of you are opulently clueless. Especially the clown that said Danny Espinosa for Cole Hamels was way too much?….that has to be the funniest thing I’ve heard in months…yeh a below average 2B who hits for moderate at best power, and strikes out as much as anyone in the league…for a multiple-time All Star, WS MVP, and one of the best 2-3 left handed SP in the league?….the Nats would make that trade for 1 start….you guys are nuts. Cole Hamels is one of the best 20-30 players in the whole league….Espinosa isn’t even top 200…..secondly, guess what guys like Rendon and Meyer have proven?….nothing at all other than that they aren’t as good as Mike Trout…you’re proclaiming Rendon a stud All Star when he’s got less than 10 GP in Single A…if he was such a stud, why’d he drop to 6th overall?….oh, cause he had a serious injuries every year at Rice…

Whoever that clown backup catcher he named is, no one cares…he mine as well just be cash or a player to be named later…he’s literally worth nothing…the phils have multiple good catching prospects…speaking of prospects….this isnt some dynasty league…prospects are important but the phils still think they can win now…they’re not gonna want a bum third string catcher, a 2B that is average t best, and 2 guys that will be lucky to be in the bigs by 2014….kinda like how Dominic Brown was a cant miss prospect that was rated way wayyyy higher than Rendon….

And in response to the one post above, no, there are not actually Nats fans….just note from the DC-Maryland-Virginia-Carolina area that has heard of Bryce Harper is now a Nats fan.

John C.
Guest
John C.
4 years 2 months ago

This comment is unintentionally hilarious on so many levels, it must have been written by a Phillies fan – and either a young one or a total bandwagon fan at that.

(1) There are plenty of hard core baseball and Nationals’ fans in DC. Yes, there are a lot of latecomers to the party, but that’s OK – the more the merrier. You know, like Phillie fans – who finally started showing up after the team won. Because the team was terrible for a long time and attendance sucked in Philadelphia. They were routinely at the bottom of the NL, and in 1997 – just four years after a WS appearance, were dead last in attendance. Here, you can look it up: http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/PHI/attend.shtml

Philly fans who bust on other cities for crappy attendance just reveal their own ignorance. It’s like saying that there are no Phillie fans – just people who heard of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and decided to call themselves Phillie fans. Stupid.

(2) No one is saying that any of these players is as good as Hamels is, based on straight talent; by making that argument you are showing that you don’t know anything about baseball, because you are completely failing to understand the relative cost/benefits that are the basis of a trade at the trade deadline. Teams that have nothing to play for (like the Phillies, see below) who have top caliber players approaching free agency have the choice to make – trade those players while you can get something, anything for them, or lose them. What they get is a player or players who can help them in future seasons (after the free agent is gone, and therefore will contribute nothing for his former team). Because those future seasons is when it matters. The Phillies have already started this process, dealing Jim Thome (who has no future, but helped the Phillies a lot in interleague) to the Orioles for (essentially) a bag of baseballs.

(3) The Phillies are saying all the right things about playing for right now. Heck, coming into the season they reasonably thought that they could squeeze one more season out of their window of opportunity. But it hasn’t gone that way, and now math is not on their side. The Phillies have to play nearly .600 baseball (44-30) the rest of the way to finish .500. To get to 88 wins and a wild card spot, the Phillies need to play nearly .700 baseball for two and a half months. AND hope that a lot of other teams fall apart – that’s where being behind eight teams really hurts. As I said earlier in the thread, it’s not just catching the Nationals – it’s catching the eight teams ahead of them in the wild card race. Again, good luck with that.

While the fans may still rail, Phillie management is saying the right thing but quietly planning for reality. Trading Thome was a start. Now they are preparing a final contract offer for him (http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8162263/philadelphia-phillies-preparing-sizable-offer-cole-hamels). That is not for this season, that’s to see if he will be there for future seasons – you know, seasons that will matter to the Phillies. If not, you will see the Phillies dump Hamels, the same way they will dump Victorino and anyone else they can move. That’s because Phillies management is in the business of reality.

I don’t envy you for getting to root for a lousy team for a while. It’s something that Nationals fans have had to do for a few years. Talk to your friends who have been Phillie fans for a long time – they can give you tips on how to get through, because no team has lost more games, or for more losing seasons overall, then the Phillies. So they have experience.

radicalhenri
Member
radicalhenri
4 years 2 months ago

amen. phuck the phillies.

Phightin21
Guest
Phightin21
4 years 2 months ago

I’m not a longtime Phillies phan and I started caring about them when they were in there prime and I stand behind them even in this losing time. And I still totally agree to you

cs3
Member
cs3
4 years 2 months ago

” he mine as well just be…”

oh i see you are one of THOSE people

Will
Guest
Will
4 years 2 months ago

Signed, “Typical ignorant Phillies fan”

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
4 years 2 months ago

I understand that teams’ fans generally overvalue their own prospects/players, but the Nats fans might need to reconsider their stance on this one. Fangraphs wrote an article earlier in the week about the quantity/quality of players one can expect in a rental trade and it appeared to roughly be one B+/A- prospect (top 20-50 prospect), two B level prospects (roughly top 100-200 as I read that) and another guy. It seems that Rendon is a little weaker than most of the headliners, and that Espinosa and Meyer are a little stronger. Leon projects as a backup catcher, which I think is probably just a guy, but might be a little stronger as well.

Anthony Rendon has been hurt for an entire year now, and is 22. He slipped in the draft because of injuries. From everything I’ve read he can be an impressive hitter when healthy, but due to these injuries he seems like he’s a good bit behind where Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak — the two prospects who would have/did headline(d) the Cliff Lee midseason trade two seasons ago — were at that time. Or where Matt LaPorta was at the time of the CC Sabbathia trade. Because of the weaker headliner, the other players would probably need to be stronger (i.e., top 100 level, like Meyer, instead of top 150 level).

Espinosa has a 311 OBP this year despite a 320 BABIP. In his rookie year he had a 320 OBP. He could always get better, but he appears to be a below average player who teams will probably not get a huge discount on in arbitration because he hit home runs last year. This is not to say he’s valueless, but I don’t think he’s a particularly great asset either. Is he really much stronger than a top 100 prospect? It seems like he would have to be for this proposed trade to be lopsided at all, let alone the extreme lopsided biased tragedy that this thread is accusing it of being.

I think the Nats fans might be right that this trade wouldn’t be worth it to them given where they are as a franchise in their development. But if they wanted Hamels, this is a good estimate of about what it would take.

John C.
Guest
John C.
4 years 2 months ago

Again, no one is arguing that any of these players, or even all of these players, is/are as good as Hamels is. It’s the two months vs. the next five years argument. If I were Rizzo I’d seriously think about this trade if it included an extension for Hamels. Without it, no thanks.

The Mighty Tim
Guest
The Mighty Tim
4 years 2 months ago

Wow, just wow. Is there just one person on this website that knows anything about prospects? It’s becoming a meme here that Rendon “slipped” because of injuries. Ooohh, he dropped 5 freaking spots, not out of the first round. And still was the sixth pick in the draft overall. What an insane freefall … That was due mostly to the incredible depth of last year’s draft. There’s no doubt whatsoever he would have been the #1 pick in the draft this year or next year. He’s such an advanced hitter that he won’t need more than a year of playing time in the minors to be ready either so his age is irrelevant.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
4 years 2 months ago

I did not compare any of the players to Hamels in talent, but to the players who were used to acquire top pitching midseason in the past. This proposed group is similar to those used in the past.

Rendon did slip as compared to pre-draft expectations, which generally projected him to be the top pick. I agree it’s not a freefall, but you’ll of course agree that’s not the word I actually used.

As for whether he would have gone number 1 in this year’s draft, in Keith Law’s most recent prospect rankings he has several 2012 draftees ranked higher than Rendon. Not saying he’s a bad player (I really only know what I’ve read in Law’s articles), but he had a history of injuries before the draft and has missed a full year now because of injures. That depresses his trade value.

crimsonqueen9
Guest
crimsonqueen9
4 years 2 months ago

Why would the Nationals even consider giving up much for Hamels? They already have the best starting rotation in the NL (and in MLB, IMO) and a solid ‘pen. The Nats need a bat, not another pitcher. It’s that simple.

radicalhenri
Member
radicalhenri
4 years 2 months ago

i hate the trade too, but that was mentioned in the article. strasburg getting shut down

Mcneildon
Guest
Mcneildon
4 years 2 months ago

I’m a Phillies fan and I would be thrilled and shocked to see a trade that returns this much for a potential rental of Hamels. This would represent a much more solid return than any of the trades listed in Carson Cistulli’s post from earlier this week. It would be more solid because there’s a sure-thing included in Danny Espinoza. With no future improvement, he’s around a league average hitter who can play average to above average defense at second, can play short as well, and is under team control for four more years. Guys like that aren’t just floating around the world of professional baseball.

To also throw in a prospect like Rendon, even with his significant injury red-flags, and a decent prospect in Meyer, along with a a potential backup catcher seems a much bigger haul than what top-flight rental pitchers like Hamels have fetched in recent years. And, that was before the CBA changes.

Bob
Guest
Bob
4 years 2 months ago

“top-flite” – not to be THAT guy, but really? Is this IM language now?

Mcneildon
Guest
Mcneildon
4 years 2 months ago

Is that referring to me? I clearly spelled it “top-flight” not “top-flite.”

JDub
Guest
JDub
4 years 2 months ago

I would think the Nats will be more than happy when the time comes to call up John Lannon, who has been stashed at AAA and prepared to takeover Strasses starts.. Giving up quality prospects to advance “one more level maybe” in the crapshoot playoffs would be ridiculous.

Bob
Guest
Bob
4 years 2 months ago

Do you honestly think Lannon is giving you the same quality innings that Strassburg will? If the Nats think their window is open this season, that is a big point to consider.

Otter
Guest
Otter
4 years 2 months ago

The Nats need bats unless you think their pitching staff is going to keep up this low ERA, fairly low BABIP, really low LOB% and very low home run rate.

Odds are the Nats pitching is going to regress a bit in the next 2.5 months. Then the question becomes can they score enough runs to win still?

And yes, the same thing can be said about the A’s…

jorgath
Guest
jorgath
4 years 2 months ago

ERA they’ll keep up. BABIP is, in this case, a function of just how good that infield defense is. HR rate is a function of how low their flyball rates are (except Jackson, of course).

Otter
Guest
Otter
4 years 2 months ago

Huh? There isn’t a ton to go on them keeping up their ERA so low. The spread on the xFIP/ERA is the third highest in the majors (trailing only two other surprise teams, the A’s and Dodgers). Their FIP/ERA spread isn’t nearly as great, but the Nats have gotten lucky when it comes to keep balls in the park.

If that ‘luck’ on home runs changes, especially with guys on base, this isn’t a team that’s going to be able to recover from three run home runs. That’s why I think they need a few bats instead of another stud arm.

The Nats pitchers have been excellent, but it’s worth pointing out that the Phillies team xFIP is even better.

sstouffer4
Member
sstouffer4
4 years 2 months ago

No way should the Nats give up all that for the short term rental of Hamels. As a Nats fan, I would like to see them go after a lefty like Wandy Rodriguez at the deadline for a much cheaper price. Assuming they do shut down the Strasburger, Wandy could slide into a quality 4 man rotation with 2 righties (JZim and Edwin Jackson) and 2 lefties (Gio and Wandy). Even without Stras, that’s a nasty rotation in my opinion. Detwiler could provide some solid long relief out of the bullpen if he gets snubbed out of the rotation.

tuusday
Member
tuusday
4 years 2 months ago

Agreed. Maybe something like Hood/Leon/Perez for Wandy.

jorgath
Guest
jorgath
4 years 2 months ago

As a Nats fan, here is my answer: No.

I’m not giving up three top prospects and an amazing 2B for Cole freaking Hamels. Either pick three of those four, or replace Espinosa and Meyer with less-good versions (aka Lombardozzi and ?)

Bob
Guest
Bob
4 years 2 months ago

Amazing 2B?

tuusday
Member
tuusday
4 years 2 months ago

Nats fan here..

No way we would ever do that for a 2 month rental of Hamels. If we were that focused on a one-year run, Strasburg wouldn’t be shut down in the first place.

paulie bedders
Guest
paulie bedders
4 years 2 months ago

Its just too much for a short term deal. The playoffs are a crap shoot and we have to plan for the long term.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan
4 years 2 months ago

If the Nats were to re-sign Hamels, then I think this is a good deal for both clubs.

I do have to say though, I’m surprised at the attitude of Nats fans in this thread. You guys seem so sure of the future. I agree that the future looks bright for the team. But the NOW looks pretty damn good, too, and even a rental of Hamels wouldn’t set back the core talent of the club for the future (still have SS, Harper, and the Zimmerman(n)s.

Perhaps this is another case of baseball fans being absurdly obsessed over prospects instead of paying attention to what they actually have going right here, right now?

44
Guest
44
4 years 2 months ago

“In Rizzo We Trust”

Phillie697
Guest
Phillie697
4 years 2 months ago

Obviously I’m a Phillies fan, but since the Nats fans here are being simultaneously homerish and hypocritical by bashing Phillies fans for being dicks, at the same time behaving like said dicks now that they finally have a decent team, I think a bit of objectivity is in order.

Yes, the haul suggested in this article is significant. VERY significant. Except that’s what it takes to get a guy of Cole Hamel’s caliber. We’re not talking about a top left-hander at the tail end of his career who might be more reputation than talent. We’re talking about a 29 year old lefty at the prime of his career who is probably behind only Kershaw, all things considered. Hey, you can always say the haul is too much for what the Nats could get out of it, but don’t call it ridiculous because it’s not.

And for those of you who thinks that opportunities to go for a championship grow on trees, as apparently most Nats fans seem to think, just ask Dan Marino how that worked out. You go for it in seasons like this because this is why you play baseball, because Lady Luck isn’t always going to be on your side. About the only logical argument I’ve read in the entire thread so far is that trading for Hamels would defeat the purpose of shutting down Strat, which is why I think it’s ridiculous that they are even thinking about shutting down Strat in the first place. You have guys like Strat for seasons EXACTLY like this. What are you saving him for??? This is about as bad as those managers who “save” their closers for “save” situations… You “save” yourself into losing the damn game.

The future is bright for the Nats, no doubt about it. I was the one guy on a Phillies blog site who warned everybody about the Nats before the season started, and got laughed mercilessly. That’s fine; like all of you said, Phillies fans can be something of dicks sometimes. But guess what? The future isn’t the future anymore for you guys. The future is NOW. Win now, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll have some stories to tell your grand kids, instead of worrying about a future that may never come.

hk
Guest
hk
4 years 2 months ago

I agree. We Phillies fans (the dicks and non-dicks alike) assumed after 2008 that more titles were coming. Little did we know how quickly Ruben Amaro, Jr. would pull that rug out from under us. However, at least we do have the 2008 title, even if it seems like it was 10 years ago, not less than 4.

P.S. Where have you gone Phillie697?

Phillie697
Guest
Phillie697
4 years 2 months ago

Work has been merciless, plus you know me, I’m not one to want to do the “I told you so” bit, and this season is nothing but a big “I told you so” for me. Even our prospects are playing like crap; looks like RAJ has finally destroyed Dom for good, since that 6.9% walk rate has “desperation” written all over it.

Derek
Guest
Derek
4 years 2 months ago

“We’re not talking about a top left-hander at the tail end of his career who might be more reputation than talent. We’re talking about a 29 year old lefty at the prime of his career who is probably behind only Kershaw, all things considered.”

These are things I agree with. The problem is that they are irrelevant to a deal for a player whose contract expires at the end of the season. If Hamels had another year left on his contract, then this haul might be plausible.

As for the Espinosa haters, we’re seeing his floor right now. His floor may be his actual value, but there’s reason to think he may improve. His minor league OPS was never below .793 and as high as .837. He has 20/20 potential as a middle infielder. And he can play shortstop.

On no planet is Danny Espinosa as good as Cole Hamels. If I’m the Nats, I’d much rather have Hamels for the next two months than the four players in the proposed deal. But that’s not the appropriate calculus (as many others have pointed out). I think Rendon or Espinosa each alone is too much. But both of them? Insanity.

Phillie697
Guest
Phillie697
4 years 2 months ago

Again, if Cole Hamels = 2012 WS Champion, who gives a rat’s ass what Espinosa and Rendon can do in the next 10 years?

Of course, that said, this trade won’t happen, so it’s purely a fun exercise to argue about it.

Derek
Guest
Derek
4 years 2 months ago

If acquiring Cole Hamels guaranteed the Nats a WS victory, the Nats would be more likely to pay the price proposed in this article. But it doesn’t. Having Hamels merely improves their (already decent) chances. But plenty of really good teams with really good pitching staffs (2011 Phillies come to mind) don’t end up winning the World Series. If a proposed trade has to result in a WS victory to make sense, then it’s a bad trade.

Phillie697
Guest
Phillie697
4 years 2 months ago

Read my original comment. Basically you’re saying given the choice of betting on a season where you have the best record in the league with a .586 winning percentage, and tied for the league lead for run differential as of yesterday this late into the season, or some yet-to-be-played future seasons where you know nothing yet, you rather bet on the future seasons.

There are no guarantees. The smart ones play their cards when the odds are in their favor. If the Nats shuts down Strat and/or do nothing, because they think they have more chances in the future, then I pity the fans.

Daniel
Guest
4 years 2 months ago

There’s no way the Phillies trade Hamels to their #1 division rival knowing they could sign him to an extension. That’s the equivalent of letting Russell Brand stay in your house with your hot wife/gf while you’re out of town.

It’s also highly unlikely the Nats spend that kind of money on another SP any time soon. While that mitigates the risk for the Phillies trading him in division, if the Nats take that posture, they can’t possible submit a competitive trade proposal. Someone else out there is going to bet the farm on an extension.

Finally, I follow the Nats closely enough to think that our fan base (in general and in this thread) grossly overrates some of our talent. Espinosa is a great example. He has a nice speed and power combo, but if he doesn’t learn to take a walk, he’s more likely to regress than progress. K/BB ratio is one of the more reliable indicators of a hitter’s trajectory. Doesn’t mean he can’t/won’t improve it, but he’s got more Mark Reynolds in him than Adam Dunn. As for Rendon, I was thrilled at the prospect of seeing him locally with the P-Nats, but he got hurt on the first home stand. Still hasn’t returned. These injuries are absolutely career-threatening. They’re a gigantic risk just waiting to be actualized. He might eventually play 1000 MLB games, but he needs to put together a half season somewhere before you can even think about lowering the injury flags.

Richard
Guest
Richard
4 years 2 months ago

I would take that in a heartbeat if I were the Phillies, but I really don’t think the Nationals would do it, as most people have mentioned. First of all, as many have pointed out, that is a lot to give up for a 2-3 month rental.

But secondly, you cannot compare deadline deals from previous years to deadline deals this year due to the new CBA. In previous years, you could trade 4 guys and get two draft picks back. This year, however, you get no draft picks back. How much teams value those draft picks is still to be determined, but there is no longer the possibility of future value (provided by high draft picks) from a deadline acquisition that signs elsewhere in the offseason.

Swydan acknowledges the new compensation rules, but brushes it aside with the argument that this is a seller’s market due to the seller’s market. I don’t see that as applying, as the National League has a great deal of separation in the standings, meaning there are a number of teams that already know they are out of it, and these teams have starting pitchers, as Cole Hamels, Zach Greinke, Matt Garza, and Ryan Dempster are all pitchers who can make a difference at/near the top of a rotation.

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