Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers seen as favorites to land Cole Hamels

By Vincent Frank

With both Scott Kazmir and Johnny Cueto already traded, the market for top-end starters around Major League Baseball has been set. Among the top names available is Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels, who is coming off a no-hit performance against the Chicago Cubs—a performance that could be his last in a Phillies uniform.

Now that the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals have filled obvious holes in their rotation, those two teams appear to be off the market for a starter. That in and of itself makes it more likely that the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers will land an upper-echelon starter before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark is now reporting that these two teams have landed as the favorites to acquire Hamels from Philadelphia.

Per the report:

“The Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers have emerged over the weekend as the likely favorites to trade for Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels, multiple sources said.

The Phillies also continue to discuss Hamels with at least four other teams — the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox, a source said. However, those teams are said to have had more trouble matching up on a potential deal than the Dodgers or Rangers.”

Outside of the Rangers, the names here are not too surprising. While Boston is completely out of the playoff race, it is likely going to land a top-end starter during the winter. Why not kick the tires on Hamels? The same can be said for a Rangers squad that entered Sunday’s action 47-49 and 6.5 games behind the Los Angeles Angels in the American League West.

Though, the Dodgers make the most sense here. After losing out on Cueto, the team is clearly focused on adding either David Price or Hamels to the mix. It also has the farm system to get a deal done. Adding someone of Hamels’ ilk would be huge for a squad that already boasts Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke atop its rotation.

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