Jun 30, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
With the Houston Astros still in first place in late June, recent talk has centered on trading for an established starting pitcher such as Cole Hamels in order to make a playoff push in 2015. To trade for Hamels would require the Astros to give up far too much, in prospects and dollars.
Houston would be better served by passing on the Phillies’ veteran pitcher.
In order to obtain an experienced, top ranked major league pitcher, the Astros would have to give up significant talent in minor league prospects and cash. The odds are that the Phillies are going to want in exchange for Hamels, top hitting prospects such as A.J. Reed, Brett Phillips, Jacob Nottingham, and Tony Kemp – all valuable future Astros.
Giving up any combination of those young bats is unacceptable. The Phillies would likely insist on at least three such prospects plus cash in exchange for Hamels, and I hope that Jeff Luhnow will not consider giving up so much talent for a 31-year-old pitcher (32 in December). Obviously, no one can predict which players will develop into Major Leaguers, but having a surplus of such potential is a bonus the Astros should not give away.
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Is Hamels really going to make enough of a difference to justify giving up so much? Not in my opinion. Not unless he wins 18+ games every year (something he has never done), continues to work 200+ innings, AND the Astros make the playoffs this season.
There are, of course, no guarantees that any such thing will happen, however, I would not want to trade away a bunch of minor league sluggers to take the chance that Hamels will add enough for the Astros to make the playoffs this year.
It is a bit premature to consider the Astros playoff contenders right now. Yes, they have an outside shot at getting there this year, and another quality starting pitcher is a must in order to have a legitimate chance at winning in the playoffs. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves; realistically, the Astros are a year or two from playoff contention. If that is the case, then giving up three to five minor league prospects for Cole Hamels is not a smart move.
Next: A Further Look into Cole Hamels