Now, before you freak out and run around the block like a frigging nut wearing only your 2008 Phillies World Fucking Champions tattoo, it’s important to add some context.
Ken Rosenthal, citing Major League sources, said the Blue Jays have spoken to the Phillies about Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino. But a trade is not imminent, nor likely. Rosenthal points out the Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos (must be Irish or something) “routinely inquires on star players.”
Here’s what Amaro told the bow-tie wearing reporter last night: [FOX Sports]
“My job is to keep all lines of communication open, for the good of the club today and tomorrow,” Amaro said. “I can’t shut any doors down. You try to be creative. And there are a lot of creative GMs out there who have different goals.”
“If we continue to play like this and keep dropping out of the race, it’s going to be tough to be buyers,” he said. “The one way we can be buyers is by keeping our heads above water — if we’re five games out, seven games out, within striking distance, then yeah.”
“But if a couple of teams pull away, run away with this thing and we’re not up to the task, then you never know. Sometimes you can be buyers and sellers at the same time. That situation might present itself, too.”
“I don’t expect us to be in a seller’s mode. But I also have to be realistic. If the team decides it doesn’t want to play the way we expect to play or play the caliber of baseball necessary to win, you can’t squeeze blood from a stone.”
I bolded that last part, because Ruben Amaro is an enraged nut right now.
Those comments reek of trying to piss off the team. Inspire them, if you will. Remember: Amaro says nothing, or lies. No middle ground. Do you really think he would blabber on about being sellers to CSN’s Jim Salisbury, like he did yesterday, or Rosenthal if that’s what he was actually doing? No, of course not.
The Phillies have not only been bad, but they’ve played horribly too, dropping fly balls, muffing routine plays, and having perhaps the worst mental approach in baseball. Amaro is simply trying to spark his team by threatening to “sell.”
Make no mistake, chances that the Phillies trade Cole Hamels to Toronto are slim, probably non-existent. But you can expect more such rumors. Hamels is going to receive one of the largest contracts ever given to a pitcher next winter, and the Phillies may not be willing to pay it. If that’s the case, and if the Phillies continue to be cellar-dwellers (it actually hurts my bones to type that), then perhaps trading Hamels will be a more realistic scenario. But it’s not happening now. It is still far too early for a team with a $174 million payroll to sell perhaps its best player.
The folks from BeerLeaguer.com have a slightly different take, positing that perhap the Phillies and Hamels could have a wink and a nod agreement to reunite once the season is over:
The Phils could work out a side deal with the prized left-hander. "Listen, Cole, we're going to move you to a contender so we can replenish. Enjoy the postseason. Enjoy Toronto. And we'll hammer out a deal in November." It's a great year to be a seller, too, especially when you have Hamels and Victorino this close to free agency. Lots of prospect-rich, hungry teams like Toronto are just dying to slip into the postseason; they now have a real shot because of the expanded structure.
It's a great idea, but it's too risky. Just look at how trading away Cliff Lee worked out for 2010 season– it didn't. Though he eventually came back (Cole could too), the Phillies missed a HUGE opportunity during "their window" by not having Lee for their World Series run in 2010. Would they have beat the Giants in the playoffs with Lee? Maybe. Maybe not. Lee lost to the Giants twice during the World Series that year. But it certainly wouldn't have hurt to have him.
Despite the poor start to the season, the Phillies have enough talent and pitching that they will have an opportunity to be one of the five teams that make the playoffs. And with Roy Halladay, Lee and Hamels, they could easily win three series.
Failing to re-sign Hamels, whatever the circumstances, would be a mistake. Cole is just now entering the prime of his career.
To compare apples to grapes or something, here are the ERAs posted by Lee beginning in the season he turned 28, 2007: 3.85, 2.54, 3.22, 3.18, 2.40.
Hamels enters that same portion of his career with a significantly better track record than what Lee had prior to turning 28. Only once since 2007 has Hamels posted an ERA above 3.39. He is the lone bright spot for the Phillies’ future beyond next season. They almost have to re-sign him.
It's making me sad just to talk about this.