Moving Cole Hamels won’t be easy for the Texas Rangers, but these five teams should be in the mix to make a deal for the veteran left-hander.
With a 17-28 record entering Friday’s action, the rest of the AL West already 5.5 games clear of them and sitting 8.5 games back of a Wild Card spot, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has reported the Texas Rangers are open to trading veteran players. Talks are not necessarily serious at this point, but Rosenthal cited left-hander Cole Hamels as the “most prominent” name that’s likely to be on the move.
Since a pretty rough outing against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 8, Hamels has allowed two runs or less in five of his last six starts to drop his ERA from 5.06 to 3.48. After a rough 2017 campaign (4.20 ERA, 6.4 K/9 over 24 starts), Hamels has rebounded back to a 9.9 K.9 rate so far this year.
This is the final fully guaranteed year on Hamels’ contract ($22.5 million), with a $20 million club option or a $24 million vesting option for 2019. The Rangers or any acquiring team is out of the woods for the vesting option, since Hamels only pitched 148 innings last year and he needs 400 innings over 2017 and 2018 to activate it.
But aside from the money, there’s the small matter of Hamels’ no-trade clause. He can block a deal to 21 teams, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, and the only teams he can be traded to without his consent are the Cardinals, Nationals, Mariners, Astros, Phillies, Cubs, Braves, Royals and Rays. He would surely waive his no-trade for certain other situations, so it would be up to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels to find those special cases.
There’s still a long way between now and the trade deadline, but these five teams should be in the mix to acquire Hamels.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are reeling themselves at 17-26 with eight losses in their last 10 games, due in part to an injury-hampered starting rotation. Clayton Kershaw is progressing from a bicep injury, Rich Hill has not pitched well (6.20 ERA) before coming out of his last start with a blister issue and Hyun-Jin Ryu (groin) is likely out until after the All-Star break.
Hamels would be another left-hander in the Dodgers’ rotation, joining Kershaw, Hill and Alex Wood if all are healthy. But they could use another starter, and as a San Diego native, a possible return to Southern California may convince Hamels to approve a move to the Dodgers.