Deep Thoughts …

Hola, amigos.

I’ve been laying low a few days, recharging the batteries and getting back to neutral after a long first half. But I’m back and it’s a gorgeous afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Things are good. Well, things are good except for the Phillies. They are 39-51, 14 games behind the Nationals and 11 games behind the Wild Card leaders — even after taking 2 of 3 from the Rockies this weekend.

I know a lot has been written about the next couple weeks, but I thought I’d offer my take.

In no particular order:

  • The Phillies will make their best offer to Cole Hamels soon. I expect him to reject it, unless he is absolutely blown away. What does that mean? Well, the Phillies signed Cliff Lee to a five-year, $120 million contract in Dec. 2010. If the Phillies offer Hamels five years, $125 million or five years, $130 million with some sort of sixth-year option or whatever, I don’t think that’s going to blow him away. I just don’t. Now, a seven year, $175 million offer might get the job done, but I’m not sure the Phillies will go that far. Hamels has said everything right over the past couple weeks. He says he wants to stay in Philadelphia. He says he trusts the organization will do everything it can to be competitive next season and beyond. But he also says this is one of the only times in his life he can discover his true value. Hamels is two or three months away from free agency. Really, why sign now?
  • If Hamels doesn’t sign I think the Phillies must trade him. I have read a lot of stories about how the new salary arbitration rules could hurt the Phillies’ chances of getting a big haul for him because a team won’t receive compensatory draft picks if he leaves after the season. I don’t believe that. Let’s look at the Rangers, for example. If the Rangers believe they are one piece away from winning a World Series, are they really going to hold up a deal because they don’t want to trade Double-A third baseman Mike Olt? He might be one of the best prospects in baseball, but at the moment he is just a prospect. Big teams have to roll the dice and take a shot. You play to win the World Series. The Phillies rolled the dice the past few seasons. They came up short, but at least they took a shot. Of course a team like the Pirates won’t give the Phillies what they want because they have no shot at signing Hamels following the season and they’re more than one piece away from winning the World Series. But a team like the Rangers or Angels? If push comes to shove I think somebody will put together an attractive package for Hamels.
  • The Phillies will take a PR hit for trading Hamels, but they shouldn’t let that influence their decision making. Bad PR today will be forgotten if they make a great trade and the Phillies make the playoffs next season. In the end, winning is the only thing that matters. Players come and go, no matter how much they are beloved. (I must say I think it’s a little funny how fans that criticized Hamels for being “soft” will be outraged if he is traded.) Feelings fade. Winning solves everything.
  • Better make a good trade, though. A repeat of the Lee trade to Seattle would be disastrous. DISASTROUS. They have to hit and hit big.
  • Are the Phillies definitely sellers? The Braves and Pirates lead the Wild Car race and are on pace for 90 wins. The Phillies would need to finish 51-21 (.708) to win 90 games. Impossible? No. Highly unlikely? Absolutely. At some point you have to look at things realistically. Sure, the Phillies might get hot, but even if they get hot and play .667 baseball the rest of the way they finish 87-75, which still would be short of the postseason. And then you’ll feel like a real sap if Hamels and others walk after the season.
  • Asking prices for Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco and others remain high as they should. Those prices could drop, but I don’t think the Phillies will give away those guys, either. That wouldn’t make sense for a few reasons: First, if a team only wants to give up a couple marginal prospects for Victorino, you might as well keep him, let him walk after the season and collect the draft picks. Second, they’re not compelled to trade them. They’re not in a salary dump situation. Third, the Phillies have nobody to play those positions the remainder of the season. I’m not sure the Phillies want to trade guys like Victorino and Polanco for nothing and have John Mayberry Jr. roaming center field and Ty Wigginton and Mike Fontenot manning third base.

That’s all for now.

Agree? Disagree?

30 Comments

Agree except I am not sure what the Phils will get back for Hameld. They need to offer to pay his salary for the rest of the year to pry away good prospects.

I think that any team that isn’t offering prospects will potential to become a MLB starter should be rejected. The Phils will have a ton of 1st, 2nd and compensatory picks next year if nobody is willing to part with a prospect with MLB potential. No point in dumping Polanco or Victorino for a bunch of guys who have a ceiling of just a bullpen pitcher. The sellers market that should be there should allow the Phils to get someone of Olt’s caliber for a Hamels rental. Then they can still sign him as a FA this offseason.

For once, totally agree with you. Also, replacing two Gold Glovers like Vic & Polly makes the Phil’s challenge that much tougher next year.

this is the best, most unbiased take on the hamels/phillies situation. i completely agree. if he doesn’t sign, trade him. love hamels, would love for him to stay but don’t make the bank roll too tight for the future. they most definitely must get a.HUGE prospect if they trade. MUST.

Todd, you touch on a point that other writers have not. It is, for me, the scariest part of trading Hamels: Ruben Amaro has only made one trade in his tenure where he was getting prospects back, and it was a bomb. All his other trades were sending prospects out and getting established stars back – he has never been a “seller.” We really don’t know how good this front office is at evaluating prospects, especially with Chuck LaMar gone. I’m terrified of another Cliff Lee trade.

We read about the scouts watching Hamels yesterday. Who is doing Amaro’s scouting during these next few weeks? How are these evaluations made now? I’d love to see a piece on this.

Nice work, as always.

Very good point. Was thinking about this also. And remember, during all the trading of the prospects, Amaro was adamant that Dominic Brown will never be included because, I thought, he was the Phils most talented prospect. How’s that working out? I seriously doubt this front office and their evaluations of talent.

Chuck LaMar. He is the guy who was competing against Ruin Tomorrow, Junior to replace Gillick, isn’t he? The guy instrumental in putting together such “fungibles” as Howard, Rollins, Utley, Ruiz, Hamels and on and on. Can the Phillies still call for a do-over or has the statue of limitations run its course?

Actually pherris, Chuck LaMar was promoted to Asst. GM when Amaro got the job. He was never competing for the job, nor was he responsible for the homegrown talent that helped win a WS. That was Mike Arbuckle, and he was the guy who lost the battle for the GM job when Gillick left. That was probably a mistake but, as I’ve said to you before, Ruben is Dave Montgomery’s boy and he ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. I don’t blame Arbuckle for walking and he took some good scouts with him when he left.

Great points, Matt. I’d also like to know who’s evaluating minor league talent for the Phils these days. MLB’s Top Prospects are no-brainers. How about the guys that have a high up-side but are only in Single-A ball now? Good scouts can find the diamonds in the rough….

Good work as always. Now if they could only dump Howard and Rollins along with Lee.

Todd, the object of baseball is to win World Series? Who would have thunk it. Reading the post here one would think winning 102 games in a year is just as good or winning a string of division titles or just having a winning record for that matter.

The only reason I think the Phillies would not sign Hamels is because they cannot afford him. Despite the hyperbole of some posters here, the Phillies do not print money at CBP. I put in my order for a new pair of waders in anticipation of the bullshit Ruin Tomorrow Junior is going to spew should Hamels get traded. And, I am thinking of taking out an option on an Ark because I might be under estimating his his skill set in this area.

Another option is if he rejects the Phillies offer of 5 years at 130 mil, teams will realize that, and not offer anything in a good trade, knowing that Amaro is strapped. Couldn’t the Philles technically allow the Rangers to offer hamels the 7 yr at 175 offer you mentioned. Then on that condition, we get Olt, and possibly 1 or 2 higher tiered prospects? That way, everyone gets what they want.

My dream scenario is trade Hamels to the Angels, get them to give up Trumbo and 2 more prospects, then sign Hamels in the off-season. BOOM! Aren’t I a great GM?
(don’t answer that. I said it was a dream!!)

Really, Greg?….. My dream scenerio is to KEEP Hamels for the long haul!

I doubt any team will pull the trigger on a deal to get Cole that doesn’t have signing an extention as part of the deal.

What is with this fantasy that the Phillies trade Hamels then resign him as a free agent? Has this ever happened with any player to say nothing of a player of Hamels caliber? To put it another way, has any player or team ever stooped this low?

Cliff Lee and the Phillies?

I’m being sarcastic there. No, I don’t think anyone has ever had player A say to a GM, trade me for prospects, and I’ll re-sign here in the off season. Without hope, what would this world be like?

What’s sarcastic about it? That’s exactly what happened. They traded Lee and he begged to come back the next season.

Ok. I take it back.

But Lee and the Phillies didn’t agree or collude is my point. And if there is ever enough evidence indicating a team and a player had an agreement such as this, I would not be surprised if the MLB stepped in and voided the subsequent contract. In a sport were a player is traded for a player to be named later and later is the player named, all sorts of weird shit can happen.

It happened, dude. Enough with the rationalization.

But Lee still had a year left when they traded him. He only came back after he was a free agent after a year in Texas. It wasn’t an immediate turnaround like it would be in the Hamels dream scenario.

Three in a row? Wow.

Was there anybody left in the building in the ninth in a one run game? I guess they were all gone “into the night”. Nice to make the Dodgers and their fairweather fans miserable.

Pope, enough with pontificating. Lee was not traded in the middle of the season as a rental player as Hamels would be. He actually played for two teams in the time he was gone. And as you hyperbolicly put it, as you are wont to do, “he begged to come back”. But to refine the inquiry for small minds, has a player of Hamels caliber or any player been traded as a rental player only to resign as a free agent when he became a free agent at the conclusion of the rental season? I know it is a deep question Pope, maybe you can get the boys at the Curia to explain it to you. One last thing eat shit and bark at the moon.

Eat shit and bark at the moon? Poor pherris. Got a bug up your ass? Must be fleas.

You can parse it any way you want, but Cliff Lee got traded and begged to come back the very next season. You could look it up.

Lee was traded in off season and at end of next season came back. There was no agreement before the trade 9that we know of). Hamels would be traded midseason and may resign, but I would assume it would be only if our offer was the best one on the table. In any case, if my grandmother had balls, she’s be my grandfather. More importantly, as Todd says, who plays CF when they trade Victorino and 3B if they trade Polanco?

Not knowing what Hamels wants to do is the only difference from the Lee situation. For all we know, Hamels could take a lesser deal to go the West coast and may not want to play and live in Philly anymore. But just because they trade him, it wouldn’t preclude him coming back at all. There are no rules against it and the Phillies have the money.

But my guess is that if they don’t sign him before July 31, they will trade him and he won’t come back. Somebody will offer him an obscene, CC-like contract. The only thing Ruben can’t let happen is to keep Hamels and let him walk. If that happens, Ruben should be fired.

phan52, I think the only reason Cole would want to leave the Phils is because they used to suck at giving him any kind of run support. If he had been a Yankee instead of a Phillie for his career, he’d probably have 15 more wins and 7 fewer losses in his career.

I’m looking forward to seeing youPlease let me check the bill.Think carefully before you act.It doesn’t make any sense to get up so earlyHe found my lecture interesting.They were glad of the examination being over.They were glad of the examination being over.I will be more careful.I would like to check out.It is said he has secret love affairs with two women!

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