Jun 14, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
1. Cole Hamels
Hamels is certainly the biggest name that has come up this season as an available starter. He has not been as dominant as some of his best years but has suffered from playing for a weak team. He has a 5-6 record with a 3.02 ERA in 113.1 innings over 17 starts. Hamels has struggled recently, with an 0-2 record and a 3.94 ERA in his five starts in June.
There is a lot that can be said about the difficulties of pitching for a struggling team. A trade to a team like the Rangers could be what a pitcher like Hamels needs to reinvigorate his season and get back to his dominant form. Hamels has been strong against left-handed batters, who are hitting just .150/.261/188 in 93 plate appearances.
Hamels has pitched in Arlington just one time, a game in which he picked up the win after giving up four runs over seven innings. He has a career 5-6 record against the rest of the teams in the American League West. Hamels is signed through the 2018 season at $22.6 million per year with a $19 million vesting option for 2019. The 2019 season has a $6 million buyout.
In order to get any player via trade, the opposite team will likely start any conversation with Joey Gallo and Chi Chi Gonzalez. As both Gallo and Gonzalez have been optioned back down to the minors to work out their issues, this may open these two back up as possible trade chips. If they remain unavailable, the conversation could then move to players such as Nomar Mazara, Jorge Alfaro, Jake Thompson, and Nick Williams. The Phillies will likely ask for two players from this list and one or two player who is a little further down the list such as a Josh Morgan, Alec Asher, or Jerad Eickhoff type player. If Gallo and Gonzalez remain off the list, I would pull the trigger on any combination of these players with a likely scenario being Alfaro and Thompson in the trade.
Overall, Hamels would be a great addition to the team and would be the ace the team needs to get to and win in the playoffs. The last time the Rangers picked up an ace from the Phillies at the deadline turned out to be a good move for the Rangers. Giving up top prospects is tough, but getting a player of his caliber for the next several season could greatly improve this team.