About the only thing that has happened of any interest this off season are the constant on again, off again rumors about if/when/where Cole Hamels will be traded. Virtually every team with money in their pockets, and even a few that don’t normally, have been in the rumor mill at some point or another.
One of the most recent rumors were that the Padres were hot on Cole’s trail. The sticking point was that they were also breathing down the neck of James Shields and more than likely, Ron Fowler, the Padres owner is not about to open the purse strings enough for 2 top of the line starters. With the news that the Padres signed Shields to a 4 year, $75 million dollar contract, the Pads are likely out of the Hamels running.
It was reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports that the Padres made an “aggressive offer” (no details) for Hamels. We’ve heard this before but as of yet, Ruben Amaro has yet to hear the magic words he’s looking for. That puts the majority of the focus on the one team that most saw as the best fit all along, the Red Sox. The biggest drawback at this point is that the Phillies have whittled down their trading partners with their “aim for the moon” approach and now have given up any leverage they had except for the “we’ll just keep him” approach. The likelihood that they will get the haul of prospects they’ve been hoping for is all but gone now. Blake Swihart is the name you continue to hear from everyone except the Sox and barring a decision by Boston to go all in, a Hamels deal is nearing unlikely status, at least before Spring Training starts.
More than likely, a good first half of the season by Hamels in red pinstripes will help draw some added interest as the trade deadline looms. This can be good or bad news depending on which side of the fence you are on in the current rebuilding approach. We’ll continue to monitor this situation and see what happens as we get closer to pitchers (including Hamels) and catchers report next week.