In an ongoing series, we'll take a look at possible free-agent and trade targets for the Texas Rangers this winter.
Target: Cole Hamels, LHP
2014 stats: 9-9, 2.46 ERA, 198 strikeouts, 59 walks, 204 2/3 innings pitched
This might seem like a pipe dream, but there could be something to it. The Philadelphia Phillies have made it known they could be looking to move Hamels this offseason to look to clear his giant salary off their books and start the rebuilding process, one that will take at last a few years.
At age 30, Hamels could still get a big return for the Phillies, while all of their other bad contracts (and there are a lot of them) wouldn't do the same. Hamels is basically a lock to log 200 innings per year and would easily fit into the top of the Rangers' rotation right behind Yu Darvish and just ahead of Derek Holland.
Hamels is still owed a ton of money through 2018 and could very well vest his option for 2019 if he continues to produce like he has been. The Rangers have the prospects to get a deal like this done, and could possibly even do it without parting ways with a top prospect like Joey Gallo or Jorge Alfaro, which you'd hope they wouldn't do for a pitcher on the decline in terms of age.
Is it likely this gets done? No, but keep this in mind: Hamels has a 20-team no-trade list in his contract, and the Rangers are not one of his forbidden trade partners. That, in itself, is nothing but promising.