Cole Hamels started his 23rd game of the season today against the Seattle Mariners. He has become the only star with the Philadelphia Phillies producing relatively close to the ability of their contract. Hamels will be paid $96 million over the next four seasons with a 2019 option.
Prior to the July 31 trade deadline, Hamels was talked about as one of the premier aces in baseball who could be traded. The Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. expected three or four prospects for Hamels without paying any of his remaining contract. David Price was traded before the deadline, and the Tampa Bay Rays did not receive half as much for Price as the Phillies wanted for Hamels. What was Amaro thinking?
Amaro probably believes the market for starting pitching will be greater during the offseason. I find the trade value for Hamels to be comparable for two prospects who are among the organization’s best, but the Phillies would have to pay a portion of the contract to Hamels. The contract the Phillies gave Hamels is too much for him to outperform. How much longer will we see Hamels as a Phillie?
Since Hamels is in the prime of his career, we can expect his trade value to have reached its maximum soon. Teams are looking for players with less guaranteed money attached to them. The Phillies will have trouble trading those players, which only happens to be half the team. I believe Hamels will be traded before the 2016 season. He could be traded this winter, at the 2015 trade deadline or the 2015 offseason, but we never know what Amaro will do until a deal is finally confirmed.