With a little over a month to go until the July 31 trade deadline for Major League Baseball trade deadline, the rumors are starting to intensify.
With the New York Yankees now just 3.5 games back, picking up momentum with four straight wins and now in second place in the A.L. East behind the Toronto Blue Jays, they've been the most talked about team for needing pitching help.
One of the most rumored named linked to the Yankees has been Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies, although right now, he's currently on the disabled list with an elbow injury and isn't expected back until sometime next month; similar to CC Sabathia, but with his knee injury. So what about the healthy left-handed pitcher the Phillies have that they could shed the contract of in Cole Hamels? Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues and CBS Sports makes the case for the 30-year-old ace for the Yankees.
"Hamels started the year on the disabled list with a shoulder issue, but he has a 3.07 ERA (2.80 FIP) in ten starts and 67.1 innings since being activated, so he’s been as good as ever. There is still $103M or so left on his contract through 2018, so he could be a cheaper alternative to upcoming free agents like Max Scherzer and Jon Lester. The only problem is that you’d have to trade players to get him. The Phillies aren’t exactly hurting for cash either. If they trade Hamels, it won’t be for salary relief only. The shoulder issue is a little scary, especially because he has had some other shoulder problems in the past, but I do think Hamels is worth keeping in the back of your mind as a Scherzer and Lester alternative over the winter. I don’t think the Phillies are going to go into sell mode at the deadline no matter how bad things get."
The former 2008 World Series MVP is currently 2-3 with a 3.07 ERA in 10 starts and is due another $103 million between now and the 2018 season, plus a vesting option for 2019, so by no means is Hamels considered a short-term solution; he'd be a major investment.
But would trading for Hamels, who would cost prospects on top of the $22.5 million he'd be owed each season, be worth it, especially with someone like Max Scherzer on the free agent market this winter, and especially since Scherzer won't cost the Yankees an overhaul of prospects like Hamels would.
The Yankees though, are going to need pitching help, especially with CC Sabathia not coming back until after the All Star break next month and Michael Pineda not coming back until at least August, if at all at this point given all of his setbacks with his back, it puts the Yankees in a dire situation to make a trade. Sure, David Phelps gave you a great start on Friday night against the Oakland A's, but can he consistently perform like that? It remains to be seen, same with Vidal Nuno.
It might be wiser to see if Lee gets healthy and returns to the Phillies rotation in time for the trade deadline because he won't cost the Yankees their top prospects because Hamels will, and taking on a contract for $22.5 million a year and dealing away a big part of the future in the minor leagues may not be the wisest decision Brian Cashman makes this summer.
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