The yo-yo game Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has been playing with for the last three or four weeks is with pitcher Cole Hamels. One week, Hamels is not for sale; the next week, he is.
This being the last week of the MLB trade deadline, it appears that Hamels is back on the market — sort of, because the asking price is so high that the Phillies cannot be serious with some reports saying the Phillies are demanding four blue-chip prospects from as many as three teams to let Hamels go. That’s a little like putting your house on the market for significantly more than the other houses being sold on the same block. Hamels could be being priced not to sell.
The Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be the leading team for Hamels, but the Phillies are asking for the Dodgers’ top four top minor-league prospects — including center fielder Joc Pederson, who has hit .305 in 411 minor-league games with a very impressive .406 on-base percentage. That’s some crazy yo-yo.
There is, of course, another possibility and that could be that Amaro is playing a high-stakes game of chicken, asking for the Dodgers to blink with the those prospects but deciding at the last minute to “settle” for Pederson and just one of the other two top four prospects.
Since the Phillies would be giving up a solid lefty, they would almost certainly want another promising young lefty in return, and Julio Urias, 17, would fit that profile. Urias throws in the low-to-mid-90 mph range and, like Hamels, has a good curve ball and change-up.
As much as Phillies fans love their 2008 World Series MVP, holding onto Hamels now — a pitcher with a 5-5 record for a team going nowhere — makes no sense if just Pederson and Urias can be lured to Philadelphia.
At that point Amaro should blink.