Cole Hamels to the Boston Red Sox: A Trade That Makes Sense for Both Teams
Hamels has been heavily linked to go to both the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees, but the Boston Red Sox should be seen as in the mix too. The Red Sox are vastly underachieving this season and they lack solid starting pitchers. Jon Lester is having a subpar season, John Lackey is out for the year, Daisuke Matsuzaka is gone after 2012, and Clay Buchholz has been downright awful.
This would give the Red Sox the following rotation for 2013 – Hamels, Lester, Lackey, Buchholz, and Josh Beckett. Daniel Bard could move back to the bullpen and the Red Sox would be a serious threat for the division in 2013.
Meanwhile, the Phillies desperately need a third baseman with Placido Polanco hitting free agency after the year (he does have an option but I doubt the team renews it for $5.5 million). Will Middlebrooks would be a tremendous fit at the hot corner, as he’s a 23-year old right-handed hitter and a lot of potential. He is batting .298 with 10 home runs and a .537 slugging percentage this season. Compare that to the Phillies, who rank 26th in the league in slugging percentage among third basemen.
Middlebrooks isn’t nearly enough for the Red Sox to give up to get a fabulous pitcher in Hamels, even if Hamels does hit free agency after the season. Their top shortstop in the organization is Xander Bogaerts, a 19-year old player tearing up high-A ball to the rate of a .285 batting average, 12 home runs, and .845 OPS so far. Throw in a mid-level prospect around the Double-A level and I think you have a fair trade for both teams.
The Red Sox get their best pitcher since Pedro Martinez and the Phillies get the third baseman they’ve needed since Scott Rolen left and two solid to very good prospects for their system.