I don't know what I'm doing!

I don’t know what I’m doing!

Buster Olney, in an ESPN Insider article today, writes about the Phillies’ horrible, terrible, silly, no-good, rotten, brainless, stiff-legged, misguided approach to trading Cole Hamels— one of their few players who has actual value in the market. The gist is that the Phillies missed the window to land the best possible package for Hamels:

If Hamels had been traded [in July], as a star left-hander under contract with playoff experience doing exceptional work — a contender would’ve surrendered a rich package in return, execs with other teams are convinced. But the Phillies insisted that not only should any interested team be willing to give up a major package of star prospects, but they also should absorb the entirety of the money owed to Hamels.

The Phillies didn’t make a deal then with this stance, nor did they make a deal when the next significant window for a Hamels trade opened, in November and early December, when he could’ve been dangled as a cheaper alternative to Jon Lester and Max Scherzer. As time goes by, Hamels’ value in the market slowly depreciates, like that of a car, with the Phillies continuing to carry the inherent risk that if any significant damage develops — if he has any physical setback — the return in trade could essentially evaporate.

Beautiful, Clark.

Olney, citing rival execs, says that the Phillies could’ve (and perhaps still could) land a significant haul of prospects for Hamels, but – surprise! – they’ll have to soften their negotiating stance, specifically when it comes to eating a large chunk of Hamels’ remaining contract. One thing the Phillies do have is talent prospects money. Olney argues that given the  recent prices of Cuban stars, which demonstrate the value of young talent, the Phillies could basically buy prospects by paying other teams to take Hamels.

I’m still not convinced you need to trade Hamels. He could conceivably be a top-line pitcher when the Phils contend again (not likely, but possible, I suppose). Of course, for that to be the case, the Phillies would need the sorts of young prospects that Hamels might be able to net them in a trade. Either way, the bottomline is that they may have missed their best chance.

Olyney also talked about Cliff Lee’s value (which is nothing at the moment), and this part makes me sad on so many levels:

The Phillies have repeatedly missed windows to make deals or better position themselves in recent years. When they traded for Roy Halladay and almost simultaneously swapped Cliff Lee to Seattle, some other teams wondered why they hadn’t been given a chance to make offers for Lee. When Lee was claimed on waivers by the Dodgers in the summer of 2012, the Phillies never engaged L.A. about what might be possible, and a few weeks later, the Dodgers concluded the massive trade with the Red Sox that allowed Boston to dump the contracts of Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, attaching them to Adrian Gonzalez. Now Lee is coming back from surgery and is essentially untradable until he can demonstrate he is healthy, at age 36, after being shut down for elbow trouble last summer.

Ruben Amaro, ladies and gentlemen.

You can read the full article here… but, Insiders Olney.

H/T to readers Rob and Matt