What would a Cole Hamels trade look like?

By Vincent Frank

Philadelphia Phillies starter Cole Hamels is clearly on the trade block with the team reportedly setting a Wednesday deadline for other squads to submit their best offers for the ace pitcher.

The market for Hamels is widespread, meaning that Philadelphia is dealing from a position of strength here. And unlike previous trades for veteran starters around baseball over the last week or so, he’s not going to be a rental. That also ups the trade bounty Philadelphia will receive in any potential deal.

According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, eight teams are having ongoing discussions with Philadelphia regarding a Hamels deal. Let’s quickly look at what the parameters of each trade might entail, solely focusing on our top-six potential landing spots (in no order).

San Francisco Giants

As we have mentioned in a previous article, San Francisco may not have the minor league assets to pull off a deal here. Pitcher Kyle Crick is the team’s top prospect, but he ranks outside of the top-50 overall prospects in baseball. An early-round pick back in 2011, the 22-year-old has primarily been a starter in the minors. He’s 2-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 22 appearances (11 starts) for Double-A Richmond this year. However, the youngster has put up as many walks as strikeouts on the campaign. That’s an issue.

Considering San Francisco’s less-than-stellar farm, the team might have to include current Major League starter Chris Heston in any deal. Though, that’s an unlikely scenario knowing Brian Sabean’s previous MO. These are all indicators that it might be hard for San Francisco to work out a deal.

Houston Astros

Flush with some of the best young talent in baseball, Houston would make the most sense here. Even after adding Scott Kazmir earlier this month, the team is in need of another starter. Any potential deal for Hamels would likely require Philadelphia sending some cash Houston’s way—increasing the bounty his current team will receive.

Not only would a young Major League player like pitcher Lance McCullers likely have to be included in any deal, a top position player prospect such as outfielder Kyle Tucker or first baseman A.J. Reed could be Philadelphia’s targets here.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Considering Arizona has been cash strapped as of late and is completely out of playoff contention, it’s surprising the team would have interest in Hamels. Heck, the team traded 2014 first-round pick Touki Toussaint to the Atlanta Braves in a pure cost-cutting move earlier this year. Regardless of whether Arizona would be smart to go after a big-name player, it appears that’s exactly what the team is prepared to do between now and Friday.

The obvious names in any potential Hamels deal are shortstop Dansby Swanson and prized young pitcher Archie Bradley. However, it’s highly unlikely that general manager Dave Stewart and company would part with any of those prospects. Instead, Arizona has four other top pitching prospects Philadelphia might show interest in. 2013 first-round pick Braden Shipley, who has already found his way to Double-A ball, might be a solid fit.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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Cuban outfielder Alex Guerrero has been mentioned as a trade candidate for the Dodgers. While the 28-year-old outfielder wouldn’t act as a centerpiece in any Hamels-related deal, he’s someone that might interest Philadelphia.

With both Corey Seager and Julio Urias both said to be off limits, right-handed pitchers Jose De Leon and Grant Holmes could also be possibilities. De Leon, 22, is currently pitching for Double-A Tulsa. He’s posted 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors this year. Holmes, a fourth-round pick of the Dodgers last year, has put up a 6-2 record with a 2.78 ERA in 18 starts at Single-A this year.

While the Dodgers have reportedly informed Yasiel Puig that he will not be traded this week, the idea of including him in any deal for Hamels would enable the Dodgers to potentially give up lesser prospects in return.

Texas Rangers

Yet another team that is not necessarily in contention, the Rangers interest in Hamels is primarily due to the fact that he’s under team control for the next four seasons. In this, adding the ace would be seen as a more long-term situation. The good news here for Rangers fans is that it probably means the team would be willing to part with a top pitching prospect or two.

Jake Thompson is someone to keep an eye on. He is currently pitching in Double-A and is considered to already have Major League stuff. Though, any deal here would likely have to include one of the Rangers top hitting prospects not named Joey Gallo. Nomar Mazara, a 20-year-old Dominican outfielder currently in Double-A, might be Philadelphia’s asking price. He’s hitting .284 with 12 homers and 50 RBI’s in 93 games this year. Of all the teams listed here, a package centered around Thompson and Mazara might make the most sense.

Chicago Cubs

Ripe with six players in MLB.com’s top 100 prospects and with a ton of youngsters already on the roster, Chicago might be able to offer the best package for Hamels. And considering he just no-hit the team, there’s little doubt that it’s impressed with what he could bring to the table.

Let’s assume for a second that Addison Russell and Kris Bryant are not possibilities. That would likely bring Philadelphia’s asking price from a minor league standpoint to Kyle Schwarber, Gleyber Torres and Billy McKinney as position players the Cubs would have to consider parting with.

Schwarber, a first-round pick in last year’s draft, has actually found his way through the farm system and is performing at a high level for the big league club. He’s someone that might entice Philadelphia to pull the trigger. Though, it’s unknown whether Chicago will make the catcher available.

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