It's nice to think that the New York Yankees' interest in Philadelphia Phillies starter Cole Hamels is about getting over the hump in 2014 in order to make Derek Jeter's final season at least a playoff season, but it's about much more than that.
FOX Sports' Jon Morosi figures the Yankees will be involved with Hamels, as was the case with former Chicago Cubs pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel before they were dealt to the Oakland Athletics.
In fact, expect the Yanks to be in on or at least inquiring about every single starting pitcher that becomes available.
Masahiro Tanaka has gone from a near certainty to a huge question mark as a partially torn UCL puts him on the brink of Tommy John surgery should any other problems arise. With that being the case, Hamels is a necessity for the Yanks this season if they hope to even come close to replacing Tanaka's production and play in October.
But the "Evil Empire" will need more than just a trade for Hamels. Quite honestly, their offense may be the bigger problem right now seeing as how their bandaged pitching staff hasn't been awful and has done more than enough to keep the team in most games.
Brasil soccer=Yankees offense
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) July 12, 2014
If the Yanks are serious about 2014, both Hamels and a bat or two should be a major priority.
Landing Hamels is about so much more than this season, though. At the age of 30 (31 in December), Hamels still has plenty of innings ahead of him and owns the track record to make him a worthy commodity to invest in, whether it be the money he's owed or the prospects it may cost to obtain him.
Aside from his rookie campaign and the 2009 season, Hamels' ERA has been in the mid three's or lower every year of his eight-year career. His ninth season in the bigs is looking as good as ever with Hamels' 2.93 ERA to show for it—the second lowest of his career (career-best 2.79 in 2011).
Not only would the Yanks be getting a frontline starter for years to come to combine with a recovered Masahiro Tanaka, the Bombers would also add a huge piece to what could be a full rebuild of the starting rotation in 2015.
Maybe most importantly, New York can keep the Phillies' ace from going to the Boston Red Sox.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe has made it known the Red Sox are going to challenge for Hamels' services, as the boys from Beantown have scouted the left-hander from San Diego, California.
The Red Sox were one of a few teams to watch Cole Hamels earlier this week. Hamels has four years remaining on his contract.
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 13, 2014
Many people doubt the Yanks ability to land Hamels because of their current farm system; however the Yanks undoubtedly have the pieces to get a pitcher of his caliber—but it all depends on what general manager Brian Cashman is willing to part with.
If the Yanks were to go all-in with no holds barred, they will have enough. If not, other clubs will win the Hamels sweepstakes, should there be one at all. Of course, there is still no concrete evidence Hamels will even be available, although a rebuilding Philadelphia squad would get more use out of trading Hamels than having him pitch for the team the next few seasons.
What the Yanks do have going for them is the money situation. Hamels will be making a boatload of cash over the next four seasons and New York has the resources to absorb that money, as well as the contracts of any other veterans the Phillies would like to dump.
Hello, Cliff Lee.
— Doug Rush (@Doug_Rush) July 14, 2014
Should the Bronx Bombers take even more money than just Hamels' off the Phillies' hands, that could cost them less in prospects and there's no doubt that's the preferred scenario for Cashman. Heck, the Yanks may even be able to fill some more holes in the process.
Just because the Yanks may not go anywhere this season doesn't mean they shouldn't make a play for Hamels. After all, the Red Sox are in much worse shape and are still going after him.
Yankees fans always want the team to invest in the future and a trade for Hamels does exactly that and then some.
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Tags: Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Brian Cashman, Chicago Cubs, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Jason Hammel, Jeff Samardzija, Masahiro Tanaka, MLB, New York, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Tommy John Surgery