The Texas Rangers are close to acquiring Cole Hamels from the Philadelphia Phillies, reports TR Sullivan of MLB.com. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported that the teams are in agreement on a trade.
Evan P. Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported that the Rangers will also acquire left-hander Jake Diekman and cash.
According to Sullivan, Morosi, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and Grant catcher Jorge Alfaro, right-handerJerad Eickhoff, outfielder Nick Williams, right-hander Alec Asher, lefty Matt Harrison, and outfielder Jake Thompson are going back to Philadelphia in the trade for Hamels.
In what may turn out to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the trade deadline, the Rangers have got themselves an ace for years to come. Hamels is signed through 2018 with a 2019 team option. He is owed a guaranteed $76.5 million starting next season, some of which the Phillies will pick up.
Many teams have been connected to Hamels for a long time, considering that the Phillies have been out of the playoff race all season. The Dodgers, Yankees, Astros, and Giants were four other teams that still appeared to be in the race by the end.
The Rangers hope that they can use Hamels to make a playoff run into the future. The team is 47-52 and still 4 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. However, with Yu Darvish coming back from injury next season, the team hopes that they'll be able to use a 1-2 combo of Darvish and Hamels to take them deep into October.
Hamels has plenty of experience pitching for contending teams and has excelled in the postseason, winning both the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP awards. Against American League opponents all-time, Hamels is 8-15 with a 4.73 ERA over 30 starts (190 1/3 innings).
This season, the 31-year-old Hamels is 6-7 with a 3.64 ERA (3.21 FIP) in 20 starts. He has a 137 to 39 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 128 2/3 innings pitched. Hamels' last start, against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, was a no-hitter. When he is on and in a groove, he can be one of the best pitchers in the entire league.
Obviously, the Rangers had to give up a lot to get him. Of the six players they gave to the Phillies, four ranked in their top 13 prospects prior to this season (via Baseball America). Thompson ranked second, Alfaro ranked third, Williams ranked fifth, and Asher ranked 13th. The former three could were all considered top 100 prospects prior to this season (via BA).
Two other interesting inclusions are also apart of this deal in Diekman and Harrison.
Diekman's inclusion is just another piece of the puzzle, as the Phillies wanted to add a bit more talent in order to get more talent. Diekman is a hard-throwing, potential back-end left-handed relief pitcher that is signed through 2018 and has not hit arbitration. He has had ups-and-downs (5.15 ERA; 3.59 FIP this season), but could play a big role in the Rangers' bullpen for years to come.
Harrison's inclusion was a tactic from the Phillies also to get more talent in return. Signed to a poor contract against his results, Harrison is owed just over $26 million over the next two years, despite only making nine starts the past three. Once an All-Star, Harrison isn't likely to play a big role in Philadelphia and at best could be an innings eater there.
Overall, this deal is exactly what was expected in a Hamels trade. There are many moving parts in this six-for-two swap as Hamels goes westbound to the Texas Rangers.