Starting Pitcher Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch during the game against the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park on May 13, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Texas Rangers, like always, will be in the trade market for just about anyone come the July 31 MLB trade deadline, and at least one baseball insider says the team is the favorite to land a certain Philadelphia Phillies left-handed starter. No, not that one, unfortunately.
ESPN's Buster Olney said over the weekend that if anyone is going to trade for Phillies starter Cole Hamels, his odds-on favorite is your Texas Rangers.
Hamels is having a fine season with a 10-4 record and a 3.20 ERA for the struggling Phils, and there's no doubt he'll be one of the top names moved at the deadline, along with Milwaukee Brewers starter Zack Greinke. Unfortunately, both players are set to be free agents following the season meaning the Rangers would be at serious risk of losing Hamels to free agency in the off-season, just like they did with Cliff Lee in 2010. There's one big difference though. This year, under new rules, teams won't receive draft pick compensation if they trade for a player that is lost in free agency like the Rangers did with Lee. That makes it an even tougher decision to go after Hamels or Greinke.
The Rangers are superb depth in the starting rotation, and the injuries that have plagued them over the first half are starting to heal, but if any of those injuries re-surface, Hamels would be a savior.
The Rangers have to decide how "all-in" they are for this season with it possibly being the last one with Josh Hamilton. Hamels would instantly move to the top two or three spots in the rotation and would definitely be a boost, but would it be enough? Reports say the Phillies are looking for major-league ready players in return, which might be good news for the Rangers as they could possibly work the trade without involving super prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt. Martin Perez has proven he might be big-league ready although he's still considered a prospect, but the Rangers might also have to package guys like David Murphy and maybe Julio Borbon in the deal.
The next few weeks are going to be interesting.