The Texas Rangers have made it a well-known fact throughout the offseason that they're still looking to add at least one quality starting pitcher, but along the way they've gone out of their way to declare they're out of the running on the biggest pitching free agents like Max Scherzer and James Shields.
But what about a trade? And what about a trade for a legitimate ace?
That's what is on the table right now in some pretty substantiated rumors between the Texas Rangers and the Philadelphia Phillies, who are reportedly in discussion about a deal involving Phillies ace Cole Hamels.
Make no mistake, the Rangers aren't the only team involved in the Hamels talks, but they are definitely one of them and have been for quite some time, presumably. The Rangers are one of the few teams Hamels can't block a trade to, and reports have said the two sides are in deep discussion.
Hamels is owed a ton of money — $96 million in all if you include his team option in 2019 — but he's also been very good and is controllable through 2019 with that aforementioned option. Generally, acquiring a pitcher who's still owed that kind of money would be frowned upon, but Hamels is still just 31 and has been very good in all but one year of his career while pitching in a hitters park.
The Rangers would almost certainly have to give up at least two of their top five prospects to get a guy like Hamels, and that's never an easy thing to do with coveted prospects. If the Phillies want to pick up some significant money on Hamels' remaining deal, the Rangers might have to throw in a third of those top-five guys.
So you lose a ton of your farm, but you have a 1-2-3 of Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Derek Holland and then even a healthy Martin Perez mixed in to your starting rotation for the foreseeable future. That's a nice risk to take.