Cole Hamels won his 11th game of the season yesterday at Coors Field pitching eight innings and allowing just one run while striking out seven.
A smallish crowd of 25,685 for Coors Field, that watched was joined by what most would consider a large crowd of scouts from other teams.
After his performance, it’s not likely that any interest in trading for his services will wane. Coors Field is not exactly a pitcher’s park and he dominated.
Meanwhile the Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro is said to be preparing a significant offer in hopes of keeping Hamels from entering the free-agent market at the end of the year.
“There’s no question we want to keep him,” Amaro said. “He’s a cornerstone of our organization. We view him as part of the core of our ballclub. He’s a top-of-the-rotation pitcher and we’re doing everything we can to sign him.”
The question is, Amaro preparing and offer or setting the table for a big trade?
Amaro Has to Make an Offer
Philadelphia fans expect a lot from their professional sports teams and they give a lot in the way of support. The Phillies have sold out over 200 consecutive games at Citizens Bank Park.
The fans in Philadelphia expect an honest effort at keeping their former 2008 National League Championship Series and World Series MVP in town.
Letting Hamels walk out the door through free agency is not an option. Not offering Hamels a deal to remain with the Phillies would be a worse option.
The Phillies have long-term deals with Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and closer Jonathan Papelbon. Ryan Howard also has a long-term deal, so they are not adverse to sign long-term deals. However, at what cost?
The Phillies have one the National League East five consecutive years and in that time won a World Series, 2008. They won’t win the division this year.
It’s doubtful that they will make the playoffs. So exactly how does keeping Cole Hamels around help them for the future.
“We expect to be contending in ’13, ’14, ’15 and beyond. So this is not a situation where, even if things don’t work out for us in 2012, that we’re going to make super wholesale changes. That’s not what we’re about.”
That makes sense. The Phillies don’t need to make wholesale changes, however every team needs to constantly restock their shelves with talent when the opportunity arises.
That opportunity may be now and, may be the best play for Aamro at this time. Hamels would bring a mother load of prospects and major league talent in a trade.
Hamels May Want to Test Free Agency
For his part Hamels seems to be playing the part of free agent to be. Very few major league baseball players get an opportunity at letting teams bid for their services at this level.
Hamels Will command 20 to 24 million a year, for six or seven years on the open market. No one could blame him for wanting to listen to the teams talk to him with those kind of numbers.
“It’s a long time to play baseball. It’s been seven years.
Like I’ve said, I think every human being wants to know what his value is in whatever job they’re in. And if you get to do it, I think it’s a pretty cool experience.
Because you can either be higher than what you thought, or lower. And I’m willing to accept either,” he explained.
That doesn’t necessarily sound like he wants to sign a new deal, but he doesn’t want to close the door either.
Amaro in a Tough Spot – Maybe
Amaro may be in a position where he can’t win. Trading Hamels would not be popular and as we said letting him walk would be worse.
Offering Hamels a contract in advance of non-waiver trading deadline seems to be the best option for him to follow, from everyone’s point of view.
Amaro can tell the fans he tried to sign Hamels and he wanted to test free agency.
That would force a trade, and Amaro can likely pick up some pieces to add to the teams shelves going forward. Remember a large contingent of team scouts watched Hamels pitch yesterday.
They all left thinking, if he can pitch like this in Coors Field, imagine…….