It does not take more than the prospect of elimination to figure out who the Phillies are looking at because their area of greatest need is an outfielder and the only fit the Red Sox have for a player of Hamels’ caliber is Garin Cecchini. Of course, Cecchini alone will not be able to reel in the pitcher who has the fourth-best ERA in the NL and if the Phillies give up their 30-year-old left-hander, they must replace him with a pitcher who projects as a top-level starter down the line and that is pitcher Anthony Ranaudo.
That’s where the Phils must start. They can then ask for another lower-level prospect, but settle on those two if that’s where the haggling ends. Cecchini is the key, though. A third baseman by trade, he’s already played 11 games in left field for the Red Sox. Last year, he split his time between Double A and Triple A and hit a combined .322 with a .443 OBP.
Ranaudo has made 19 starts for Pawtucket (R.I.) in Triple A this season and is 10-4 with a 2.62 ERA. In his last two seasons between Double A Portland (Me.) and Pawtucket, he’s 21-9.
While it would be tough for most Phillies fans to see Hamels go, they need to face facts. Even though Hamels has a 2.37 ERA, the reason he’s 6-6 is because the team has no punch in two of its outfield spots and Cecchini would help provide some. That and you have to figure Ranaudo can at least go 6-6 or better next season. That has to be at the heart of the Phillies’ organizational thinking.