Why the Phillies Can’t Trade Cole Hamels Rashly, Before I Kill Someone

This isn’t a great time to be a Phillies fan–the team has been bad for a couple years now, and will probably be bad for at least one more, and while there are a few exciting young players on the horizon, odds are the next good Phillies team will not resemble this one very closely.

And quite frankly, this blows, because nothing interesting is happening. No big signings, no anticipation for breakout seasons from prospects, no sizing up competitors’ moves, because the Phillies are probably going to finish last in the division in 2015. So we’re waiting on trades–Marlon Byrd, Carlos Ruiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, maybe even Jimmy Rollins. But the big one is Cole Hamels. Where might he go, and when, and what might he bring back in return when he does?

I get the anticipation, because any headlining prospect in a Cole Hamels trade would be a building block for a good Phillies team, and Hamels is the only trade chip the Phillies have that could really bring back a needle-moving return. We want to see action.

But all the news coming out of the national media is that potential trade partners–particularly the Dodgers–aren’t interested in paying Ruben Amaro‘s asking price. And Amaro’s asking price is high–outrageously or preposterously so, or so it is said.

Good. That’s exactly what Amaro should be doing, and that’s exactly what I’d do in his place, and because the kvetching about how the world is ending because the Phillies haven’t traded Hamels for Mookie Betts by Thanksgiving is driving me into a homicidal rage, I thought it’d be helpful if I explained why this is so.

1) The contract isn’t odious at all.

Hamels is owed somewhere between $100 million over the next four years and $118 million over the next five years, depending on which way the wind blows on the option. That might sound like a lot, and it’s more than the Phillies would be paying him if Amaro hadn’t bollixed the extension back in 2012, but keep 5 years, $118 million in the back of your head when Jon Lester (who isn’t as good as Hamels) gets 6 years/$150 million in a couple weeks, or James Shields (who is two years older than Hamels, in addition to not being as good) gets something like that in free agency.

Hamels has thrown at least 180 innings in every one of his eight full seasons in the major leagues. He was second in the National League in WAR last year, behind only Clayton Kershaw, despite missing a month due to injury. He is largely a finesse pitcher who gets by on command and his changeup, and those kind of guys tend to keep to their mid-30s, and in terms of performance, I don’t think there are 15 pitchers in the game I’d have over Hamels right now. He is the best pitcher the Phillies have developed since Robin Roberts, and he has a non-trivial chance at being a Hall of Famer.

The problem with using $/WAR as the evaluative tool (which is how you arrive at the conclusion that Mookie Betts is an appropriate return for Hamels) is twofold. First, players of Hamels’ quality are extremely scarce, and can very seldom be bought for money alone. Second, a team like the Phillies (or Red Sox or Dodgers) is like a mint, and if you’re a fan of a big-market team in a league without a salary cap, and your primary concern with evaluating a player has to do with how much money he makes, you’re being co-opted by the oppressors to fight against your own people in a war of class. There’s a Polish idiom I’ve become fond of recently–“Not my circus, not my monkeys”–which applies to Hamels’ contract.

Hamels is the kind of player you send out into the wild in April with the expectation that he’ll collect five or six wins when he returns in October–there are maybe a couple dozen guys like that in baseball. Teams invest tens of millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of man-hours in scouting and development staff every year in the hope of cultivating one player like that once every couple years. You’re fucking right Hamels makes a lot of money, and he’s worth every penny. If the Phillies were in a position where paying part of his salary would increase the trade return, they should do so, but this isn’t Ryan Howard, who is problematic because he’s very bad and also makes a lot of money. The contract isn’t one you should just dump for the sake of not paying him–Hamels’ contract is not my circus, not my monkeys.

2) He could be on the next good Phillies team.

The phrase I say to myself over and over when considering a rebuild is: “Could this player be on the team the next time it’s good?”

Let’s say the Phillies start thinking about contending again in 2017–Hamels will be entering his age-33 season, one year older than Shields is now and Cliff Lee was when he signed with the Phillies before the 2011 season, and the same age Roy Halladay was when he was traded to the Phillies before the 2010 season. It’s not unreasonable to expect a pitcher who’s been as good as Hamels has been through age 30 to continue to be at least almost as good through age 33. If nothing else, Hamels is signed to a long enough deal and is still young enough and effective enough that the Phillies can wait until conditions are more favorable before they trade him, and if conditions don’t change, they’ve got an ace to rebuild around.

3) Any risk of decline or injury is overstated.

Now, there is a risk of injury or decline, but Hamels has been one of the most durable pitchers in baseball over the past decade–he could experience a massive shoulder injury tomorrow, just by virtue of being a pitcher, but given his track record, that risk isn’t great enough that I’m willing to live in fear of it.

Pitchers don’t get less risky, from a health standpoint, than Hamels. He’s still relatively young, he’s a good athlete, he’s never experienced a major injury to his elbow or shoulder, and his game doesn’t rely on velocity or sharp breaking stuff–though his fastball velo went up last year anyway. And before you bring up Lee and Halladay blowing up out of nowhere, remember that both of their declines came at age 35–four years off for Hamels.

There’s risk in keeping Hamels, because he’s a pitcher and because this is baseball. If you don’t like risk, you should stop rooting for baseball teams to win and start rooting for baseball teams to get handouts from the government–because that’s the only safest bet in sports.

4) There are many ways to rebuild.

This is the one that makes me want to drop a basket of baby rabbits off a bridge, the idea that because the Phillies are rebuilding they should get rid of everyone right now for whatever they can get right now. That’s one way to do it, and I’d argue the right way to do it if your team has no players you can use as building blocks, no overwhelming financial advantage, no real assets in terms of up-and-coming players and no substantive fan support to alienate. That’s the case for the Astros and the Sixers, but not the Phillies. They can afford to keep cutting checks to Hamels and treading water until the kids are ready, if they so choose. Player development is sufficiently unpredictable that you don’t have to bottom out for LeBron or Peyton Manning in baseball if you want to win.

The Phillies could go that route, but tearing the whole thing down won’t make the good times come back any faster–if anything, trading Hamels for a package built around Mookie Betts or Joc Pederson might get you a young, cost-controlled potential starting outfielder, but then you have to go and find another No. 1 starter, of which there are very few, and that’s problematic because you just traded one away. Why would a team do that? Just to clear the decks for the sake of looking like they’re doing something? That’s the only reason to accept a below-market-value deal for Hamels right now. If Ruben Amaro’s got the keys for the rebuild, he can do this at his own pace and on his own terms, rather than let the impatience of the fans and media force his hand.

5) You’ve got to make this one count.

I’ve heard it said that Hamels needs to be traded in order for the Phillies’ rebuild to start in earnest, because they’ve got so little to build around and nothing else of substance to trade for a tentpole prospect. But look at that sentiment another way: The fact that Hamels is the only player who could bring back a franchise cornerstone makes it all the more important that if the Phillies do trade him, they actually get a franchise cornerstone back. In my lifetime, I’ve watched the Phillies trade away Scott Rolen, Bobby Abreu and Cliff Lee–all Hall of Famers or close to it–and get nothing back, and their failure to do so has a lot to do with why the 2008 World Series team was built so heavily on players acquired through the draft. Five years ago, the Phillies dumped Cliff Lee to clear salary and got nothing back–don’t demand that the Phillies do the same with Hamels just because you’re impatient.

Getting Betts or Pederson as the star of a return package won’t cut it. Getting Betts and, say, Brian Johnson from the Red Sox won’t do enough to kickstart the rebuild to make it worth getting rid of a player of Hamels’ quality when there’s no temporal or economic incentive to do so.

I hate coming up with fake trades. If I had my way, “Thou Shalt Not Make Fake Trades” would be one of the Ten Commandments, because who really gives a shit about graven images, right? But just for the sake of clarity, let’s say Amaro would trade Hamels to Los Angeles for Julio Urias and Corey Seager, the Dodgers’ two top prospects, both of whom are likely to wind up in the top 25, if not higher, of a lot of prospect rankings lists this offseason. And let’s say Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi counters with Joc Pederson (a top-50-ish prospect) and Zach Lee (back end of the top 100 last year, before he posted a 5.38 ERA and a 5.8 K/9 in AAA last year. I know it was the PCL, but that fucking blows).

Neither Pederson nor Lee would be as good as Hamels even in the most optimistic future scenario. Both Urias and Seager could be, but being 18 and 20 years old, respectively, both represent more than a little uncertainty. If I’m going to trade Hamels, I want the possibility of getting an equivalent player back, and I want enough cracks at the wheel that it’s more likely than not I get him. Urias and Seager represent that. Pederson and Lee do not. 

6) Hamels’ value is not at an all-time high.

There seems to be a belief that Hamels’ value will never be higher. In a vacuum, that’s true, because players tend to get worse as they get older, so as time goes by, Hamels gets older and therefore worse. I’ll concede that, but there are other factors in play that influence Hamels’ trade value. First of all, as time goes on, Hamels’ contract comes closer to being over. Maybe a team won’t commit to paying a pitcher $25 million a year for four years, but maybe three years doesn’t sound so bad. The less future we have in front of us, the less scary that future is.

Second, conditions can change for the other 29 teams. Right now, it’s a buyer’s market for top-end starting pitching. You can get Max Scherzer, Shields or Lester and spend a little more money and not give up a prospect. Or you can go get Jeff Samardzija and get, I dunno, 80 percent of the pitcher for 40 percent of the prospect return. In the offseason, teams have options. Come July 30, when the Red Sox (or the Blue Jays) are a game out of first place because they have an all-world offense but only one decent starting pitcher, the incentives will have shifted. A million things could change that shift the balance of power back into the Phillies’ favor, and they’ve got the time to wait for some of those things to happen.

7) Opportunity cost.

Right now, I’m willing to risk Hamels losing value because Pederson and Lee is all that’s on the table, and Hamels’ value would have to fall quite a bit before it gets to the point where Lee and Pederson is an acceptable return. But let’s say I’m crazy, that Hamels isn’t worth Urias and Seager, or that he is, but the market hasn’t shaken out to the point where anyone will give them to me.

If I hold out in the hope of getting Urias and Seager and can’t get them, Pederson and Lee–or a roughly equivalent package–will be there in eight months or a year, or a year and a half. If I trade Hamels for Pederson and Lee now, that’s it. There’s no alternative.

That’s the only card Ruben Amaro holds: Hamels is 31 with a track record of health and excellence, and is signed through 2019. There’s no impending age-related blowup the way there was with Cliff Lee, and there’s no impending free agency like there was when the Blue Jays traded Roy Halladay.

The “or else” in “Trade Cole Hamels or else” isn’t bad enough that it should scare Ruben Amaro into trading Hamels for anything less than sticker price. I know the default position on any baseball ops decision the Phillies make is to mock it, particularly in the national media. Amaro doesn’t have to trade Hamels just because other people might say he’s being intransigent if no deal gets made right now.

You’re fucking right he’s being intransigent, and that’s not only his prerogative, it’s the only way the Phillies are going to get anything approaching a fair return for the best asset they’ve put on the market in a generation–maybe ever–and the only one that can make a difference now.

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  1. PuntoForPresident

    December 04, 2014 08:05 PM

    Disclaimer that I am a Dodgers fan, but I gotta disagree with the assertion that Joc is “a top 50-ish prospect.” Keith Law has him in his top 20, and he was in the top 15 in MLB.com‘s year-end list.

    • Romus

      December 05, 2014 09:44 AM

      PuntoForPrez……then you must be aware that Joc’s K propensity is rather high for a lefty facing close to approx. 65 to 70% of right handed pitching thru a season, though his OBP is excellent driven by a better then average BB rate. But then I think of Jeremy Heredia and the expectations he came in at a few season back. Personally I may sub Schebler for Pederson if that would also bring Seager

  2. ASK

    December 04, 2014 08:12 PM

    Great job and I agree completely. Also, you slightly over-stated the possible salary commitment – it could be anywhere from $96M (for 4 years if the decline the option) to $110M (for 5 years if his 5th year vesting option is not met, but they pick up the option) to $114M if the 5th year vesting option is met – making the salary even that much cheaper (relative to the alternatives).

  3. Joecatz

    December 04, 2014 09:39 PM

    MJ we’ve butted heads in the part but GD this is the best F&$@&n piece I’ve read all offseason.

    It is literally a perfectly constructed op ed both in structure, tone and it’s dead on accurate.

    If there was a Pulitzer Prize for cole Hamels trade pieces this would win.

    • edwin

      December 05, 2014 04:18 PM

      Kind of an I am Spartacus moment

  4. RofoRoadblock

    December 04, 2014 09:47 PM

    I don’t disagree that Amaro shouldn’t just trade Hamels to appear to be doing something, but I think they need to trade him sooner rather than later. What good comes out of the Phillies standing pat with this group, winning 60ish games and still not have the additional parts that are needed to rebuild for 2018? In addition to being the only tradable commodity the Phillies can move, Hamels is the only player they can move to clear salary. Since payroll seems to be an issue, the Phillies are stuck unable to do much of anything to move the franchise forward.

    • SirAlden

      December 05, 2014 06:14 AM

      Genius piece. Thank You.

      Blow it up and let’s get something forget that you never get nothing. Teams do not trade low priced sure things ever.

      Hamels and a Second Pitcher like Johnson and Schilling can be the basis for a WildCard and Playoff Team. The Phillies have the money when the time is right to spend it.

      • ASK

        December 05, 2014 07:52 AM

        “Blow it up and let’s get something forget that you never get nothing. Teams do not trade low priced sure things ever. ”

        I’m not sure what this means, but if you are saying that they should trade Hamels now because he’s a (relatively) low priced ace and they always fetch great returns, Cliff Lee says hello…..three times. If that’s not what you’re saying, never mind.

    • ASK

      December 05, 2014 07:50 AM

      But, he can only trade him sooner rather than later for a good return if another team offers said good return. After 2016, the Phils will have a ton of money to spend on free agents and taking players who have become too expensive for some smaller market teams. If things break right over the next two years in regards to guys like Nola, Crawford, Franco and even Dom Brown plus their young, cheap bullpen remains solid, they could be in position to spend money to make themselves competitive in 2017. If so, one of the things they’ll need is a top of the rotation SP, which will be Hamels if they don’t get a fair offer for him between now and then. There is no scenario or timetable under which they should trade Hamels for cents on the dollar.

    • Ryan Sommers

      December 05, 2014 11:54 AM

      Payroll isn’t an issue. The Phillies have an assload of money, and will continue to have an assload of money for a long time. The issue is that all of their players got old and declined, and you can’t just fix that in one season. The Phillies should absolutely be leveraging their financial resources to compile talent, not the other way around.

  5. Beez Nutz

    December 05, 2014 07:54 AM

    I’ve never been so hype to NOT see trade action happen now !

  6. Moosebreath

    December 05, 2014 09:24 AM

    Thanks — this really needed to be said.

  7. PTN

    December 05, 2014 09:46 AM

    Good Piece. But I won’t really be satisfied until I see a death match between Michael and that evil, Hamels hating troll, Jeff Sullivan.

    • nik

      December 05, 2014 11:54 AM

      Dont forget his Troll sidekick:

      Comment From JJB
      Phillies would need to pay home much $ in order for a Hamels-for-Betts swap to work?
      Dave Cameron: All of it. $110 million. And even then, I’m not sure Boston should do it.

      And Jonah Keri has Hamels as having more trade value than Mookie Betts in his trade value column. That’s a $110 million difference of opinion.

  8. Romus

    December 05, 2014 09:50 AM

    Very good article and thoroughly detailed options in this scenario.
    What should be of concern however, Hamels may actually want to go to a contender, especially on the West coast, realizing the Phillies will not contend for a playoff position for a min. of 2/3 years at least in the NL East

    • rellis

      December 05, 2014 11:41 AM

      He will never come out and say it even if he wants to do just that. He does want to win while he’s at the top of his game but Cole has always been loyal to the Phillies as they were the team that took a chance and drafted him when there were no other teams interested. This is an exceptional article! Well done!

      • Romus

        December 05, 2014 02:04 PM

        No need to come out and say he wants out….just tell Ruben the GM or his agent. As players do when they want to move on.
        No one questions his loyalty….players at or the near the end of their careers want to win that elusive last championship. I think the LAD are closer then the Phillies at this point.
        Now the Cubs, and even the Red Sox may be further away from the ring then LAD..

  9. Ryan Sommers

    December 05, 2014 11:52 AM

    Mike, thanks for giving me a convenient link to spam Twitter with every time this comes up.

  10. Tim

    December 05, 2014 12:05 PM

    Excellent write-up, and please don’t drop those baby rabbits off the bridge! They have so much living to do.

    Another reason I’d add (though you sort of touched on it) is that some of us will still be watching the Phils and attending games during these slow years. It sucks that we won’t be contending for another year or two at earliest, but we’d still like to see one of the best pitchers in the league trotted out there every five games. That makes it much more worthwhile to follow an otherwise lackluster team.

    I think so many sports fans have gotten too comfortable with the basketball model of rebuilding and assume that the only way to do so is to completely bottom out. But this isn’t the NBA. In some cases (like the Astros, as you point out) an approach like that might be defensible (though I still am uncomfortable with it given how profitable the Astros are). Yes, to rebuild in baseball, teams often have to suffer through lean years and (in some cases ruthlessly) make the most of valuable assets. But so many people see what NBA teams or the Colts or the Astros do and think, “gee, if my team is really serious about winning championships, what they need to do is actively try to put the shittiest product possible on the field/court as soon as possible. From there we can pretty much plan the parade!” It seems to me at the same time both incredibly cynical and hopelessly naive.

    • Michael Baumann

      December 05, 2014 12:21 PM

      I think that’s a good point, though I tried to divorce the emotional component from the baseball process–my heart says don’t trade Hamels under any circumstances.
      I’m an unabashed supporter of the Sixers’ rebuilding strategy, if only because the team was unbearable to watch when it was around .500 anyway and I don’t see any better way to build a contender quickly. With that said, the on-court product has been absolutely brutal since the Jrue Holiday trade and I don’t like watching them now. So just from a fan perspective, I’d prefer the Phillies go a little less extreme with their rebuild.

      • Tim

        December 05, 2014 01:09 PM

        Well, I started out railing on baseball teams essentially adopting tanking as a strategy, but ended up railing against tanking altogether. As much as I don’t love what the Sixers are doing, it is a clear and logical response to the structure of talent acquisition in that sport. And while in baseball the draft is more important than ever now in the age of locking up young stars and diminished free agent markets, MLB is very much not the NBA. But in general, I’m just uncomfortable with the rebuilding strategies in sports moving towards a race to the bottom as a way to get as quickly back to the top as possible (which, of course, is very much not guaranteed even if executed really well). Yes, in many cases it’s a logical response to certain incentives, but I think too many people are just getting way too comfortable with it overall.

  11. LarryM

    December 05, 2014 02:48 PM

    You’re not entirely wrong. But neither are you right. Amaro’s ask is absurd. He should absolutely settle for less. But nor should he give Hamels away. The issue is how much is enough. On the one hand, you and many fans seem to have expectations which would mean essentially zero chance of a trade – and that IMO opinion squanders a ton of value (since the team will not be competitive for at least 2 years and possibly more). He has more value for a current contender. On the other hand, the pure “excess value over his contract” approach, which would make the return very small, is also flawed.

    Before I get into specifics, let me make a point about Betts. A straight up Hamels for Betts trade would be a HUGE steal for the Phillies (and consequently would never happen). But I expect our differences on that point are mainly about valuing Betts rather than valuing Hamels. You put Betts and Pederson in the same category. That’s just wrong. The risk factor on Betts is SO much lower that his trade value is maybe … double Pederson’s. Maybe more.

    But specifically addressing your arguments.

    (1) Agreed but irrelevant. The people who want to trade Hamels because of his contract are few and silly. Almost a straw man argument.

    (2) True but (a) much less likely to be on the next contender than the prospects we could get in return; and (b) as above, we’re “wasting” at least two of his contract years on a non-contending team.

    (3) Well … lots of people SAY this. Is it true? I’d like to see some studies. but before we even get there a couple points: (a) This ties into #2 to some extent. The risk is probably higher later in the contract than earlier – and it’s later in the contract when maybe the team will contend; and (b) Lower than what? The record for starting pitcher health is really bad. So maybe Hamels is better positioned than some pitchers to avoid those pitfalls (though past durability is a poor predictor of future durability for pitchers). Still, even being incredibly optimistic, there’s a fairly high risk of decline or injury, especially in years 3, 4 and (potentially) 5 of the contract.

    (4) Almost a complete straw man. One doesn’t have to believe in a fire sale to believe that Hamels should be traded if we get a good (but realistic) return. The simple fact is that he is the best trade asset, the minor league system is improved still a little thin, and the free agent market is not what it was.

    (5) Not sure what this one even means. If you mean they shouldn’t just give him away, of course you are correct. If it means that have to be CERTAIN that the deal will pay off in the long run, well that’s just silly. No deal is a sure thing. Just as (see above) Hamels going forward is not a sure thing.

    (6) This is mostly another straw man. No one sensible is saying that you HAVE to trade him now. But he’s NEVER getting you the fantasy package that some people imagine. The maximum REALISTIC return is a top prospect, a solid second piece, and a couple of lottery tickets. If you can get that, take it. If not, wait. But keep in mind that waiting DOES carry risks. See #3 above.

    (7) This is far and away your worst argument because opportunity cost cuts both ways. You say that “If I hold out in the hope of getting Urias and Seager and can’t get them, Pederson and Lee–or a roughly equivalent package–will be there in eight months or a year, or a year and a half.” That is far from guaranteed. partly because we don’t know what the market will look like in 8 months or a year and a half, and partly because – see #3 again – even if the risk of decline or injury is exaggerated, it exists and it is substantial.

    Now, Pederson and Lee in particular … I guess it depends a lot on what you think of Pederson. If you think he is overrated as a prospect, yeah maybe you pass on a package of him and Lee. If Pederson really is a top 25 in baseball prospect, then those two, plus maybe a couple of lesser prospects, looks pretty good to me.

    • LarryM

      December 05, 2014 02:53 PM

      And taking the position that you only do the deal for Seager and Urias (or the equivalent) is the same thing as saying that you don’t trade Hamels under any circumstances. There is no conceivable universe where Hamels gets you that return. None. More likely pigs learn to fly. MUCH more likely.

      • Chris S.

        December 05, 2014 05:10 PM

        The MLB as a whole is overvaluing prospects. Prospects rarely turn into a Cole Hamels level player. Cole Hamels is not an easy player to replace and he is an ace and the Phillies should get more than one top prospect for him. If I were Amaro I would trade Hamels for Pederson, Urias, and Seager. I wouldn’t budge from that type of package either. Over the next five years I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hamels be worth more in WAR than all of those players combined. If Hamels helps the Dodgers to 2 championships over the course of his remaining contract isn’t that worth the prospects given up? I would say yes.

    • Robin

      December 05, 2014 06:28 PM

      Hamels for Betts but we take Victorino and his contract. Even my rapid Sox fan friend is interested in that.

    • NavyJoe

      December 05, 2014 10:31 PM

      I am not sure how you can assert that a) is a Straw Man argument when the impetus for this discussion was a FanGraphs article that used $/WAR as the factor for analysis. That implicitly deals with salary.

  12. edwin

    December 05, 2014 04:12 PM

    Finally someone stands up and makes the argument against trading Cole. If you want an ace you have to pay an ace’s ransom. I say build around him and let him lead the renaissance.

  13. Visitor

    December 05, 2014 04:45 PM

    “Why No One Should Be Killed, Before the Phillies Actually Trade or Reject an Actual Offer for Cole Hamels”

    So many smart opinions, so few actual facts…

  14. allentown

    December 05, 2014 05:27 PM

    I agree with all of your points. My frustration is not that we haven’t traded Hamels, my frustration is that we’ve done nothing, following on a 2014 trade deadline in which we did nothing and a 2014 waiver trade period in which we moved only Hernandez. I think several of Papelbon, Ruiz, Byrd, Rollins, Utley, Burnett, Bastardo should have been gone at the 2014 trade deadline. Tomas may not be the key to the kingdom of post-season ball, but the Phillies passed on Castillo, because they assured us Tomas was the perfect fit. Other teams have continued to post significant LA signings. Not us. This is a bad team becoming worse, largely by being a year older. Yes, there are many ways to rebuild. Simply waiting for the kids on an average to less-than-average farm to mature, while you wait for the aging core to retire in place is not actually rebuilding. So…. choose a way, any way.

    • ASK

      December 05, 2014 07:09 PM

      “I think several of Papelbon, Ruiz, Byrd, Rollins, Utley, Burnett, Bastardo should have been gone at the 2014 trade deadline.”

      1. The market for Papelbon is so small that he’s actually more valuable to the Phillies if, for no other reason, than to suppress Giles’s arbitration value by keeping him from accumulating Saves on a bad team.

      2. Byrd’s vesting option left him with 2 1/3 seasons remaining on his deal last July. He should be much easier to trade this off-season or next July.

      3. Rollins and Utley have 10-and-5 rights.

      4. Burnett’s vesting option and his performance – not to mention his injury – made him impossible to trade last July. Who wanted Burnett?

  15. GB

    December 05, 2014 08:42 PM

    Very good article, I agree we should not give Hamels away, but we do need to rebuild and if we are aiming at 2017 then trading Hamels becomes almost a necessity since I do not see otherwise how we meet that deadline realistically unless the Phils really open up the wallet and start spending…I do not see evidence for that happening either; we’ve only stuck one toe into the international market and have stopped signing high level FA. I’m ok with the latter since they prove largely not worth the cost, but the international market has been a missed opportunity IMO.

    I think the larger frustration for me continues to be the backward, reactive, PR-driven and crony-filled approach of this organization and the lack of any communication/explanation of what their plan is to turn the franchise around and get us back on a winning track. Their inability to act and make the right moves, while not surprising based on their track record, is excrutiating to witness and makes being a fan of the team very tough. Other organizations are so much smarter, more innovative and better positioned than the Phils it is scary.

    So, for me, it is not really should we or should we not trade Hamels; it is how in the world did they box themselves into this dark corner again and who are the people who can navigate the franchise out of this maze? It certainly is not the current people in charge IMO and I do not see them changing any time soon.

  16. Joe

    December 05, 2014 09:27 PM

    The biggest issue with the $/WAR argument is the very poor assumption that 1st War per season has equal value to the nth WAR per season. Its not. You equally value a 8 WAR MVP as 4 2 WAR players in trade or pay. The reason is not only rarity or prestige, but one is consuming less opportunity. You can play other people who, hopefully, have some value.

    • Joe

      December 05, 2014 09:28 PM

      Meant to say “You DON’t value”

    • Joe

      December 05, 2014 09:30 PM

      Meant to say that “You DON’t equally value” an 8 for a for 4 2 WAR players. Bad proof reading.

  17. Sean Smyth

    December 08, 2014 12:21 AM

    Rueben is intransigent on every fucking trade possibility and now that you work the leader you have changed your tune mr. orwell

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