Yes, Cole Hamels still is with the Philadelphia Phillies. And yes, the Boston Red Sox still are widely considered potential suitors for the 31-year-old left-handed pitcher.
A scout recently told CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury the Red Sox definitely have the chips to trade for Hamels. Boston’s rotation has pitched better of late, but a deal involving the Phillies ace could tip the scales in the American League East, which is wide open and filled with teams that have flaws.
“There’s a deal to be made there, absolutely,” the scout told Salisbury. “The AL East is there for the taking. They all could benefit from Hamels. Now, I don’t know what the Red Sox’s plan is. Who knows if their offense will come around? It might not.
“But I think the team with the most resources to get him is Boston. They have the talent and can take the financial hit. The Yankees can do it, but their system is not as good and they’re going to be protective of their prospects. The Red Sox have enough minor league talent that they can move some of it if they want to make a deal.”
In many ways, the scout is stating the obvious. The Red Sox certainly have the pieces to pry Hamels away from the Phillies, as Boston’s farm system is considered one of the best in Major League Baseball. It’s just unclear whether the Red Sox will consider making a play for Hamels, who entered the season with four years and $96 million still guaranteed on his contract. The cost of acquisition could be steep.
“Some people think that’s a good contract. Some people think it’s a bad contract,” the scout said. “I think there’s value in getting out of it (if you’re the Phillies).”
The Phillies are believed to covet Mookie Betts and Blake Swihart. It doesn’t appear the Red Sox are willing to trade either of those players, though, especially now that they’re making an impact at the major league level. Philadelphia might need to dig deeper into Boston’s system.
The scout lauded Single-A Greenville’s roster, pointing to infielders Rafael Devers, Javier Guerra and Mauricio Dubon and pitcher Michael Kopech as intriguing prospects playing for the Drive. He also, according to Salisbury, spoke highly of outfielder Manuel Margot, who’s currently with High-A Salem.
Left-handed pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens and Brian Johnson stand out as potential major league-ready targets should the Phillies prefer that type of talent in return.
“I don’t know who the Phillies love in the Red Sox system and I don’t know who the Red Sox love,” the scout told Salisbury. “But there are eight or 10 players we’ve talked about. If you can find three or four Boston is willing to part with and three or four that the Phillies get excited about, I think there’s a deal to be made.
“This is the kind of deal the Phillies need to make. There are three or four players here that could really improve their system.”
The Red Sox so far have steered clear of dealing young talent for Hamels despite immense outside speculation. Perhaps they’ll continue to do so, but the chatter isn’t going anywhere.
Hamels entered Saturday with a 5-4 record and a 2.91 ERA in 11 starts this season.
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