Phillies Reportedly Shopping Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee

The off-season is a big ball of fun. Via Buster Olney:

While I don’t doubt the veracity of Olney’s report, I am curious as to the motivation behind the Phillies making this public. If the Phillies really are willing to trade Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, everything GM Ruben Amaro has done over the last two seasons — extending Hamels and Chase Utley, re-signing Carlos Ruiz, signing Marlon Byrd — was all for naught. Essentially, the Phillies have entered the off-season without a plan. As easy as it is to discredit the Phillies as of late, I’m not sure we can give them that little credit.

I don’t imagine the Phillies are actually seriously shopping Hamels and Lee. They should be listening on everybody; that’s due diligence. More likely, there is some specific reason, that isn’t obvious to us laypeople, that the Phillies have leaked that they’re shopping their two aces. Maybe I’m giving the front office too much credit.

Any serious rebuild where the Phillies get rid of Hamels and Lee would also have to come with the ouster of Jonathan Papelbon and Ryan Howard as well.

Then there’s this:

The two reports cannot both be true; either one is true and one is false, or neither is true. One thing we have forgotten Amaro does, for which we lauded him in the past, is misdirection. The Phillies’ front office frequently either leaked nothing or leaked misinformation before making a move and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what’s going on now.

Update: Amaro reponds…

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16 comments

  1. santo

    December 10, 2013 09:24 AM

    I’m hopeful you are correct…but Amaro has said in the past he doesn’t have a 5 year plan (which I laughed off). But shopping your young developing players AND your established veterans, while signing utley and byrd, are the moves of a rudderless team.

  2. hk

    December 10, 2013 09:33 AM

    Why would Tampa trade David Price for either of them? Tampa is looking for cheap and young players.

  3. Pete

    December 10, 2013 09:42 AM

    The only 2 scenarios this makes sense for me…

    1. Just due diligence. See if any team fed up with Price talks or Ubaldo demands will do something stupid.

    2. Honestly looking to trade one and replace with the younger, potentially cheaper-per-year Tanaka.

    There is no way they go into full rebuild right before the TV deal.

  4. yizzit

    December 10, 2013 09:55 AM

    In either scenario Pete, the Ruiz and Byrd signings are completely counter-productive to what trading a top 10 LHP would result in. If you give up a probable 5-7, or higher WAR starting pitcher, when you’ve made moves to suggest you’re not rebuilding; you ARE rebuilding, and doing it poorly.

  5. Pete

    December 10, 2013 09:59 AM

    Yizzit –

    In scenario #2, Tanaka could be a 3-4 win pitcher year 1 and the return on Lee/Hamels could be MLB ready and make up the other 2-3 wins while getting us younger.

    There is a 0% chance the Phillies actually think this way though.

  6. Machonorris

    December 10, 2013 10:13 AM

    I’m thinking their names are floated to influence the trade cost to acquire a SP.

  7. Andy

    December 10, 2013 10:15 AM

    Trading Lee or Hamels makes no sense at this current time. Trading Pap for salary relief tells me that they have no faith that Gonzo is going to be capable of starting of the year as a repectable starter.

    Trading Dom Brown for young pitching makes no sense. The phils have drafted and traded for young pithers for years. And giving brown away to give the phillies salary relief to add another outfielder for 8-10 milion? whats the difference having Brown with dead money for 3 years then Cruz who could be a worthless in a year.

    Obviously Brown is not a prefect player but Id take brown at 500k then any other bat on the market right now. And RAJ cant tell me its cause the phillies think Ruf can play left field everyday.

    Had to vent these rumors are nonsense in my option. What the phillies need to do is stop being concerned about today cause he amaro signed 3 aged players

  8. Fizxman

    December 10, 2013 10:45 AM

    Pull an “Astros” and blow up the team. The difference between the Astros and Phillies would be that the Phillies can get a lot back for the talent they currently have, whereas the Astros didn’t have much talent when they started trading away what they had; at least not at the level the Phillies currently have. That would mean it wouldn’t take as long of the Phillies to rebound as it is for the Astros. The longer you wait, the less they’ll get for those players.

    They should be able to get a boatload back for the likes of Lee, Hamels, Utley, Papelbon, Howard, Rollins, and Brown. Granted, they’ll definitely have to eat some of those contracts, but they would be able to restock their farm system pretty well. Then be bad for 2 years to acquire high draft picks for blue-chip prospects, wait another 2 years for trips to the playoff then win a world series.

  9. SteveH

    December 10, 2013 11:04 AM

    @ Bill B

    So if any of the Lee Hamels rumors are true, would you be open to sending one of them to Arizona? Ken Towers said he knows he needs a legitimate #1 to battle the Dodgers and the Giants and they have both starting pitching and outfield major league ready talent?

  10. SteveH

    December 10, 2013 11:06 AM

    Kevin Towers not Ken, sorry about that.

  11. Andrew Cleveland Alexander

    December 10, 2013 11:26 AM

    Bill, you’re assuming that the Phillies leaked this. Olney’s report just says that the Phillies are listening to offers, and that could come from, oh, any one of 29 other general managers, not to mention agents and other assorted hangers on. Why would they have a motive to do that? Let’s just consider one possible scenario: Team A is trying to pry David Price from the Rays, but the asking price is too high. Team A knows it has a stacked farm system and can put together a desirable package for Price, and has the payroll space to absorb his eventual extension. Team A knows, therefore, that it is one of just a few possible landing spots for Price.

    Teams A wants to put pressure on the Rays to cut a favorable deal. So it reaches out to the Phillies and asks, would you be willing to think about moving Hamels or Lee in a deal with these sort of vague parameters. Amaro listens, because GMs listen. Then Team A makes it known that Amaro is listening, so that the Rays know there are other elite starters out there on the market besides Price.

    Anyway, just a potential scenario. My own sense of the situation is that Amaro is very closemouthed with the press–that’s why you see these scoops ending up with the national press instead of the local beat reporters.

  12. Matt

    December 10, 2013 11:41 AM

    Obviously we’re getting mike trout

  13. Bob

    December 10, 2013 05:48 PM

    A problem with the Phils’ dealing a SP (Lee or Hamels), OF (Brown or Revere), or a RP (Paps) is that these are the exact three positions that the Phils’ have zero depth at. They have no minor league OFs ready to come up. We can hope for Dugan, Gillies, or Altherr, but they’re not ready. Turning to SP, the Phils have Pettibone who is not a top of rotation starter, Morgan who is injured, and Martin who is slotted for the ‘pen. As for RP, the Phils mightily struggled last year in this dept. as well and unless you have confidence in Rosenberg, Stutes, Aumont, etc. Out of these three positions, the one with the least amount of impact if traded would be RP, yet Paps has the most immovable contract of any of the players being dangled. Because this lack of depth, the Phillies would have to again dip into the FA market where players are routinely getting three year deals. If the goal is to compete in 2016 – as it should be – then signing a FA to a three year deal in unpalatable. Cruz, Choo, Garza, Jimenez, and the like will probably net longer terms than that.

  14. Josh

    December 10, 2013 07:23 PM

    No way this is remotely serious, as Zolecki indicated with the Amaro quote earlier. Signing Utley, Byrd and Ruiz only to trade either Lee or Hamels just cannot make sense. Those signings indicated that the Phillies have already set course on contending over the next couple of years and Lee AND Hamels would be essential pieces to that equation.

  15. derekcarstairs

    December 11, 2013 12:36 PM

    Based on the moves to date, the Phils appear to be neither in re-build mode nor in win-now mode. Don’t listen to Amaro’s words; follow his actions.

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