Houston Astros: Let’s Make a Trade with the Phillies


May 13, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher

Cole Hamels

(35) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In February, I wrote an article for Climbing Tal’s Hill stating why Cole Hamels would be the perfect fit for the Houston Astros. My reasoning then was that with the off-season additions of Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek, the Astros had significantly upgraded their bullpen.  The Astros also extended their lineup with the additions of major-league talent like Evan Gattis, Luis Valbuena, Colby Rasmus and Jed Lowrie.  I argued then that the Astros had taken steps to make themselves relevant again in Houston and around baseball.  But that they needed a starting pitcher and not just any starting pitcher. They need an ace to put at the top of the rotation that had the experience and the pedigree to go toe to toe with Felix Hernandez, Sonny GrayYu Darvish and Garrett Richards.

Part 1: Let’s Trade with the Oakland Athletics

Part 2: Let’s Trade with the Phillies

Part 3: Let’s Trade with the Reds

Part 4: Let’s Trade with the Reds Part 2

Part 5: Let’s Trade with the White Sox

Part 6: Let’s Trade with the Mets

Part 7: Let’s Trade with the Reds Part 3

Part 8: Let’s Make no Trades

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Fast forward three months and the Astros have blown through the “relevancy” stage of their rebuild, straight into the realm of the contenders.  The bullpen has proven to be solid, and the depth of the lineup has been even deeper than expected with the emergence of Jake Marisnick and

Preston Tucker

.  The Astros are also a few weeks away from passing beyond the “Super-2” date, which means other presumed changes to the lineup will be on their way soon (ok, one

Carlos Correa


However, the starting pitching needs an upgrade for the Astros to be considered a serious World Series contender. Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh have been outstanding and to be fair, Roberto Hernandez, Scott Feldman and now Lance McCullers have all faired well and kept the Astros in most games. But the Astros still need that commanding presence at the top of their rotation, and who better than a former World Series MVP that is signed through 2018?

A pitching ace is not as easy to find as you might think.  First of all, teams aren’t quick to part with top-of-the-rotation arms and when they do it is usually not cheap and often comes at the end of an existing contract.  This often means you give up a lot of major-league talent for a 2-3 month rental.  There are plenty of those types of options that may be available, such as Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and a few others. But do the Astros really want to give up their young talent for an rental? They may have to if they keep winning, but I’d prefer to give up young talent for an ace under control through 2018.

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The best move for the Astros is to trade for Cole Hamels. He gives immediate legitimacy to the rotation and allows Keuchel and McHugh to face the opponents 2


and 3


best pitchers.  It would also allow the Astros to either trade Roberto Hernandez or Scott Feldman and move McCullers into the bullpen to be a lockdown power arm like the Cardinals did with

Adam Wainwright

.  Further, the Astros will still have the money to spend this offseason, which is pitching-rich and who wouldn’t want to join a young up-and-coming team already anchored by Hamels, Keuchel, and McHugh.

So how do the Astros get Hamels to Houston? That is the important question. First, Hamels will have to agree to waive his no-trade clause and accept a trade to Houston.  It may mean that the team guarantees the option year for 2019.  But that is one more year your ace is under team control.  Did I forget to mention that Hamels comes at a relative bargain for top pitchers at $20 million/year?

For these reasons, Cole Hamels would be a fantastic fit for the growing/contending Astros.  The Phillies are mired in last place and need a new infusion of young talent in their system.  Trading  Hamels is the fastest way to accomplish that. With the Astros stable of young talent, it seems that these two teams are perfect trade partners. Now, no one said it wasn’t going to hurt to get Hamels. The Phillies will most likely covet at least four of the Astros top prospects in return.  So I have put together a realistic trade scenario, and I look forward to the reader comments.  Just remember to consider all facets discussed above.

…”The Philadelphia Phillies announce they have traded Cole Hamels to the Houston Astros in exchange for Mark Appel, Domingo Santana, Vincent Velasquez, Michael Feliz, and Teoscar Hernandez.”…and the Houston Astros win the 2015 World Series.

As you can see, trading for Hamels has been a popular idea at CTH, what are your thoughts?

Eric wrote about trading Appel for Cole Hamels here.

Jason wrote about trading Appel for Cole Hamels here.

Andrew wrote about trading for Cole Hamels here.

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