On the surface, the Cubs would seem suited to be the perfect trading partner for the Phillies. The Cubs have one of the best farm systems in baseball; the Phillies have one of the worst. The Cubs were reportedly the only team to claim Hamels off waivers on Wednesday and the Phillies have until noon Friday to pull Hamels back off waivers and that is precisely what they will do.
Here’s why: For the Phillies to even consider trading one of the best pitchers in baseball, they will need a team’s top two prospects. For the Cubs, those two would be third baseman Kris Bryant and shortstop Addison Russell. The problem with that is the Phillies really only have two top-of-the-line prospects in their system and they are Maikel Franco and J.J. Crawford, who play—you guessed it—third base and shortstop, respectively.
Franco was named the International League’s top fielding third baseman by the rest of the league’s managers, which is sort of like winning the Triple A version of the Gold Glove. The Phillies’ current third baseman, Cody Asche, has not reminded anyone of a Gold Glove winner this season and he’s viewed by the organization as only a stop-gap until the power hitting Franco arrives next season. Crawford is two seasons away, but he’s the same kind of can’t-miss prospect Russell is.
Perhaps the Cubs claimed Hamels because they thought they could fleece him from the Phils for a fourth- or fifth-best prospect, but that is just not happening. The Phils need a power hitting outfielder who also hits for average for the next 10 years and a projected No. 1 pitcher for Hamels and, while the Cubs have a lot, they do not have that to offer.
The two teams just do not match up and, unless the Phillies commit another clerical error by noon Friday by forgetting to pull him back off waivers, Hamels will be making his next start in a Phillies uniform.