Jeff Luhnow is said to covet a starter that is not a rental type player, one who has team control past this season. One of the pitchers who can fit the characteristics is Philadelphia Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels. Hamels was such a fit with the Astros that the writers of CTH kept writing about him because he is under control until 2018. If you would like to, you can read all our Cole Hamels trade posts here.
With July looming as well as the July 31st MLB trade deadline, the Astros management has to make a decision of going with the cards they have to play or trading for some new cards. Astros fans are split on whether or not to trade for a starting pitcher, especially someone who would cost the most prospects as Hamels will. Some fans feel like the Astros need a veteran pitcher to help save the bullpen for later in the season.
This weekend, I wrote that Velasquez and McCullers’ struggles could lead to Astros trade. When I say struggles, I mean with their control, which causes them to be early exits. The Astros need that workhorse starter to go along with Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers as the top three, followed by Collin McHugh, Brett Oberholtzer, Scott Feldman, and Vincent Velasquez. Inserting an ace like Cole Hamels would increase the depth of the rotation, but Houston, we have a problem.
According to Bob Allen of KHOU 11 Sports, “Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels would block any possible trade to the Houston Astros if the teams were to strike a deal before the trade deadline.” This quote was from information from a source close to the situation, according to Channel 11’s post titled Source: Phillies ace Hamels would block trade to Astros.
I wish I could say I was surprised by this rumored decision by Hamels, but I predicted back in the offseason that Hamels could initially say no. This statement gives Hamels the upper hand in the discussions with the Astros. While Hamels could be dead set on not playing for the Astros, this also could be a ploy to get a contract extension from the Astros. If the Astros want Hamels, they might need to show Hamels the money.
Let me put it this way, Hamels is 99.9% sure that he will not pitch with the Astros. The last time Astros fans heard that Roger Clemens said he was retired, but came back. The Astros might even have to take him to the same sushi restaurant they took Lowrie to and wine and dine him.
The thing that is curious to me is that the two teams mentioned are the Yankees and Rangers as teams that he will play for. The Rangers are division rivals and the Yankees could be a first round playoff matchup, it’s like Hamels is really putting the pressure on the Astros to sweeten a deal for him. The last sentence is just in my opinion, but those two in particular, makes me think.
Why would the Astros want Hamels?
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This season, the 31-year-old pitcher is 5-5/ 2.96 ERA/ 103 strikeouts in 94.1 innings according to Baseball-Reference. He has five losses because he plays on a bad team and has only five wins because he plays for a bad team. In fact, in 2013 he had a 9-14 record and in 2014 he had a 9-9 record for the year.
Plus this dude would bring a Randy Johnson feeling to this Astros team. I’m not saying he pitches like Johnson, but that he could have the same effect on the playoff run in 2015. However, the Astros lost some good players in that Johnson trade.
While the trade to Houston might be dead for now, watch for Hamels to the Astros rumors to continue throughout the process. If the Astros get desperate, they may reach out to Hamels to try to work something out. No, I’m not saying this trade possibility is dead, but I think its literally a last-minute decision if it happens. The Astros need to wait out Hamels and pursue other options that won’t cost as much.
No Hamels to the Astros, but July will be crazy people. Hold on to your seats.
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