The Phillies traded Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers last night, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to move forward sans the ace lefty without first remembering the lefty’s 14-year career with the organization.
We knew it was a real possibility, but any hope that the Phillies ace would remain in Philadelphia after the trade deadline has been extinguished. According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the deal is final:
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) July 30, 2015
The Phillies traded closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals yesterday, ending the right-hander’s four-year stint in Philadelphia after signing a record four-year, $50 million contract in November, 2011. Though he’ll be remembered more for his antics and media sound bites, Papelbon more than lived up to expectations given the size of his contract, compiling a 2.31 ERA with 123 saves, 252 strikeouts, and 52 walks in 237 2/3 innings with the Phillies. He leaves as the franchise leader in saves, displacing Jose Mesa.
Cole Hamels‘ no-hitter Saturday against the Chicago Cubs sent the Phillies’ record to 7-1 since the All-Star break, the best record in baseball — tied with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants — in that span of time. Their one loss was the 1-0 game against the Tampa Bay Rays in which Aaron Nola made his major league debut. At 36-63, the Phillies’ lead for the worst record in baseball has shrunk to 5.5 games over the Miami Marlins and seven games over the Colorado Rockies.
Cole Hamels came into Saturday afternoon’s start at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs the subject of intense trade speculation and with a little bit of worry considering he had been hit hard in his previous two starts. He had everything working against the Cubs, using his patented mid-90’s fastball, loopy curve, and one of baseball’s best change-ups to stymie a lineup that included Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Jorge Soler.
The start very well may be Hamels’ last in Phillies red. If that is the case, what a way to go out.
The Phillies are in the midst of a truly remarkable run of baseball. Today, when Jerome Williams takes the hill in Chicago, he will become the Phillies tenth starting pitcher used in just their nineteenth game this month. Ten pitchers in nineteen games? It sounds impossible but the Phillies refused to back down from a challenge and, by gum, they’ve pulled it off. Take a gander at the Terrific Ten used to accomplish this incredible feat:
With a pair of scoreless innings pitched ahead of Wednesday’s walk-off win in the 10th inning, Jonathan Papelbon was credited with another game finished. He’s now 15 away from 100 combined games finished between 2014 and ’15. Once he reaches that threshold, his $13 million option for the 2016 season vests. With 33 through the Phillies’ first 97 games, he’s averaging one approximately every three games. 15 more over the remaining 65 games comes out to one every four games, so it’s an inevitability that Papelbon will get there, barring a serious injury.
The trade deadline is fast approaching, and Papelbon has repeatedly told the media how badly he wants out of Philadelphia, to play for a contending team. Papelbon has had a terrific season, getting the save in all 16 opportunities with a 1.63 ERA and a 39/8 K/BB ratio in 38 2/3 innings. He would be an upgrade for any team that might acquire him.
Only one problem: that vesting option is a “sticking point” in trade negotiations, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. He says the Phillies don’t have any traction on a potential Papelbon deal.
Aaron Nola is set to make his major league debut tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays, opposing Nate Karns. As expected, Nola progressed quickly through the Phillies’ minor league system since he was taken in the first round, seventh overall, in the 2014 draft out of Louisiana State University. It has taken the 22-year-old a little over a year since entering professional baseball to make his major league debut.