Yesterday, Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels and outfielder Marlon Byrd were claimed by unknown teams, and the 48-hour window to act will expire tomorrow afternoon. Hamels is regarded as a premier commodity for contending teams, and with top talent comes a hefty price. His remaining $90 million guaranteed contract is under control through the 2018 season with a buyout for his 2019 option. His teammate, for now, is earning $8 million annually for this season as well as for next season. With the vesting option a possibility for the 2016 season, Byrd’s contract is more than just a rental. With only a day remaining to close a deal, a trade for either player seems unlikely.
The problem the Phillies will face is that prior to the July 31 trade deadline, Ruben Amaro Jr. expected a higher return for his players than the market suggested. With only one team claiming both Hamels and Byrd, little room for negotiations remains for Amaro to expect that same return. This should remain true unless the claiming team sees this as their only opportunity to obtain that player, as the offseason interest in these players should drastically increase.
I see Hamels being pulled off of waivers rather than being traded. His market during the offseason will be optimal for the Phillies to trade him in order to gain the most talent in return. Since he is not a rental player, teams that will miss the playoffs this season will look for that “ace of the rotation” type of talent next season in order to be contenders for a 2015 playoff run.
Byrd seems more likely to be traded than Hamels, but I suggest that the team that claimed him could have done so for other reasons. Although the team that claimed Byrd is unknown, I believe that they claimed him so a contending team within their division would not acquire him. This will not destroy the Phillies, but will just hold him off from being traded this season. I see Byrd being traded during the offseason or next season before the non-waiver trade deadline hits.