FG on Fox: The Phillies Deadline Mistake

Heading into last week’s July 31st trade deadline — not to be confused with an actual deadline after which you can no longer make trades, because MLB doesn’t really have one of those — the Phillies were expected to be one of the primary sellers. They had expensive veterans who had openly talked about playing elsewhere in Jonathan Papelbon and A.J. Burnett. They had a right-handed hitter with some power in Marlon Byrd, and there were a bunch of teams looking for right-handed power. They had Jimmy Rollins, an above average big league shortstop, who turns 36 in a few months and could have helped a number of contenders.

And they had Cole Hamels, one of the game’s best left-handed starting pitchers, signed through the 2018 season at salaries that look downright reasonable in baseball’s current economy. Well, it’s now August, and not only do they still have Papelbon, Burnett, Byrd, and Rollins, but they still have Hamels too. The team with the seventh-worst record in baseball did not make a single trade in the month of July, and soldiers on with Hamels surrounded by a group of mostly over-paid under-performers.

Because of their contracts, it remains quite likely that the Phillies can still trade Papelbon, Burnett, Byrd, or Rollins over the next few weeks — or, if someone puts in a waiver claim on any of them, just let them go and be free of the remaining contractual commitment — but Hamels is unlikely to pass through waivers, and the team’s decision to not trade him last week is tantamount to a decision to not trade him during the season.

As Rob Neyer argued last week, there’s merit in keeping Hamels.

If you’re the Phillies, you trade high-priced (or for that matter, low-priced) players who won’€™t be around when you’€™re ready to win again. That’s why you trade Cliff Lee and, of course, you trade Ryan Howard just because. You trade Cliff Lee because he’s locked up through just 2015 (with a team option for 2016), and you trade Ryan Howard because he’s probably never going to do much in terms of actually winning baseball games.

Cole Hamels, though? Cole Hamels is locked up through 2019. That’s one-two-three-four-five seasons after this one. And considering the Phillies current financial edge over much of their competition — thank you massive television moneys! — if they’re not competitive again at some point in the next two or three years, then someone in the front office is probably doing a lousy job…

… Could a trade make sense? Sure. If you’re the Phillies, you ask for the earth and the moon and the sun and the stars. And maybe you can do without the moon.

Otherwise, though, Cole Hamels is the one guy you keep if you’re serious about winning again in this decade.

Now, I like Rob, and we agree on a lot of things — which is probably why I like him so much — but I don’t really agree with the words above, or the Phillies decision to keep Hamels in general. So let me try and lay out the opposing case.

Read the rest on FoxSports.com.

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Padraic
Guest
Padraic

I would have been interested to see historical comps for a pitcher with such a long deal.

The basic problem with this kind of thing is that we have no idea what the market is for a top-end starter with 4/5 years left on his deal. Maybe Price is MORE valuable, because he’s not tied down for so long. SO maybe the packages is less than Smyly et al.

All the long-term reasons listed why the Phillies should trade Hamels are all equally applicable to why teams would not pay less to acquire him.

Eric F
Guest
Eric F

That logic doesn’t make sense to a team that’s good now and looking to win within the next 2 or even 3 years. Hamels will without a doubt help them this year and next year, possibly even pushing a contender up to a favorite. Even if he falls apart in 3 years, chances are good that the team will have gotten what they wanted out of him, at a less-than-market price, and for less yearly commitment than they’d get in free agency.
I don’t think anybody sees the Phillies competing for anything in the next 3 years, which is why Hamels isn’t much use for them, barring him staying healthy and elite for 2018 when the Phils will realistically be a good team again. That’s why Dave is trying to say they should have traded him, along with the fact that his value is going down every year he gets older and closer to free agency.

Curt Schilling
Guest
Curt Schilling

Maybe I’m a bit comparable.

wasting time
Guest
wasting time

I guess add Halladay, Kenny Rogers, and Johan Santana

Kevin Brown
Guest
Kevin Brown

I was an above average pitcher with 2 more years on my contract making a lot of money on a team that was no longer competitive. Not a xerox of the phillies situation but decent?

Kevin Brown
Guest
Kevin Brown

i bagged jeff weaver a decent reliever and a losing lottery ticket.