Celebrity baseball insider Jon Heyman believes a Cole Hamels trade to Texas needs to happen. Here's why (emphasis mine):
The Rangers are said to have stayed in touch with Philly periodically regarding Hamels, and while a person familiar with their talks suggested "nothing's fresh" at the moment, it makes too much sense not to step up those discussions. The Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Padres and others have been tied more frequently to Hamels, but Texas is the team that makes the most sense.
As one competing GM pointed out, the Rangers are a rare team with both the money and the prospects to make it work.
Unless something has changed that I'm not aware of, the Rangers don't really have any money to spend. They are stretched thin as is. Operating at a deficit for the last few seasons, 2015 was supposed to be the year the organization caught up a bit. A year after assuming Prince Fielder's contract -- with $6 million installments from Detroit that won't kick in until 2016 -- and signing Shin-Soo Choo in free agency, the budget virtually plateaued.
From that vantage point, the idea that all ownership has to do is snap their fingers and poof, Cole Hamels at $24 million per year happens, feels farfetched. Like I wrote in the last post I put up, if the Texas Rangers had that kind of money to spend this offseason, why wouldn't they have spent it then?
Hamels, however, isn't Max Scherzer or Jon Lester or James Shields. Jon Daniels can't simply money-whip him into a Rangers uniform, because he also costs in terms of prospects. If money wasn't already a issue, then you would think prospects would be. Since a couple disastrous trades at the beginning of his tenure, Daniels has generally always pocketed his best farm talent. And if history means anything, it's hard to envision JD going for broke with a team that is more than just one starting pitcher away from serious contention.
Maybe Heyman is onto something here, but I don't see it. All of a sudden the Rangers have reached a critical stage under its current regime, and although it might not be in Daniels's DNA to punt away a second straight season, right now it might make the most sense to. Picking up Hamels at the expense of some of Texas's upper-level minor league talent -- whether it's Joey Gallo, Jorge Alfaro, Nomar Mazara, Chi-Chi Gonzalez, Jake Thompson, or some combination thereof -- could seriously damage a franchise longterm that's already experienced its share of fractures the last couple years. They need to have it right by the time Yu Darvish is back on the mound pitching in meaningful games.
I don't see this as much of a conversation between the two clubs, mainly because the two things Heyman claims the Rangers have to offer -- prospects, money -- are exactly what they are most desperate to keep in their possession. At least for now.