Masahiro Tanaka, the New York Yankees rookie pitcher who was named to his first All-Star Game a few days ago, has been placed on the DL after dealing with inflammation in his elbow. Word is Tanaka will undergo an MRI to determine what’s going in and what the team’s next step should be.
Losing Tanaka would be a huge blow to the Yankees, who at 45-44 are right in the thick of a race for the AL East crown, only four games behind the division-leading Baltimore Orioles. If the news on Tanaka is bad when it comes back after the MRI, it’s almost guaranteed the Yankees are going to have to make a move at the trade deadline if they want to make a serious push for the playoffs.
Enter Cole Hamels.
As everyone has learned, the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher has the power to veto any trade to 20 MLB clubs, which leaves nine teams as options if Ruben Amaro Jr. decides that moving Hamels at the trade deadline will help the team in their rebuilding process. Hamels is one of the very few commodities on the team that Amaro Jr. has that is actually worth anything if another GM should come calling.
And guess which franchise is on that short list of teams Amaro Jr. can trade Hamels to?
None other than the Yankees, who might be in desperate need of a pitcher who has playoff experience and has won a World Series MVP if the news on Tanaka is less than encouraging.
Moving Hamels, while not a popular choice with the fans, would make perfect sense if you are Amaro Jr. You get to unload a six-year, $144 million contract that most will agree was made overly generous in order to keep Hamels in a Phillies uniform. The result would be the Phillies would finally get some breathing space on their payroll to go out and pick up a free agent or two in the offseason.
Add to that the fact that Hamels has not been happy as of late, showing his displeasure on the field and after games and you have the makings of a win/win for everybody. You can’t imagine he is good with the thought of the team going into rebuilding mode, even if it only lasts a few years as Amaro Jr. hopes. So let him play for a real contender while the Phillies retool a bit.
I recently talked about how Hamels was one of the only players from the 2008 World Series team that was worth keeping if the Phillies went into full-blown rebuilding mode. And while that is still very true, if a trade situation does come up with the Yankees, it might be the best case scenario for both the Phillies and Hamels if he heads to New York and becomes a Yankee, as hard as that is for Phillies fans to hear.