Rumors: Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals Discussing Cole Hamels
By Kenneth Nash
With just a week remaining until the July 31st trade deadline, the Texas Rangers lefty Cole Hamels has been linked with a possible move to Washington.
Only a week remains until the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline and the Texas Rangers reportedly have had discussions over Cole Hamels with the Washington Nationals. The news was broken by JP Morosi of MLB.com Monday afternoon.
The Background on a Possible Deal
Hamels has long been the center of trade rumors from the Texas Rangers this year as the top talent in the starting rotation. However a string of bad starts as well as a contract that still sees him owed $7 million over the remainder of the season throws a hiccup in any trade discussions. On top of his current owed money, he has a team option for next season of $20 million with a $6 million buyout.
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Cole has made 4 starts in the month of July and been abysmal in each one. In those 4 starts, he’s posted a 1-3 record with a sky-high 11.12 ERA and opponents are hitting .359 against him. On Monday, just after the report broke, Hamels went only 5 innings against the A’s allowing 7 earned runs and taking the loss. This last performance also came in front of a number of scouts from other clubs who were there to watch him pitch.
As for the Nationals, they currently sit in 3rd in the NL East, 6 games back of the Braves and Phillies who are tied for the division lead. Coincidentally, they are also 6 games back of the Wild Card. So on the outside looking in, Washington is looking to bolster a starting rotation that has been less than stellar this season. Hamels represents a viable choice as the Nationals are one of the 10 teams he cannot block a trade to.
What Deal Could Get Done
If the Rangers were to be able to reach an agreement with the Nationals, it likely would be one requiring them to take on a healthy portion of his salary for the rest of the season which likely wouldn’t be too much of an issue. Texas isn’t in dire need of salary relief and likely will make up for it in the other deals they make in the next week. On top of his current owed money, I would also guess that the Rangers will have to pay his $6 million buyout for 2019 if his new team doesn’t want to pick up his team option for next year.
That contract agreement would be one that the Nationals would most likely be agreeable to. Coming Texas’ way would be maybe one mid-level prospect with a couple of low-level players in a package. Our friends at District on Deck gave us a few names that could be in a package headed back to Arlington. If the Rangers eat the majority of Hamels 2018 salary and his buyout for 2019, they likely could get a Top 20 prospect to headline their return.
RHP Luis Reyes
Reyes is a 23-year old pitcher currently with the Nationals Double-A affiliate. This is a bit of a best scenario return for Texas. MLB Prospect Watch has him as the number 10 prospect in the Nats organization.
RHP Joan Baez
Baez, 23, would be a pickup that would give Texas a bit of time to see his growth. MLB Prospect Watch notes that there are questions over his ability to remain a starter but think he could be late-inning reliever. Currently in the Nationals Advanced-A system, he’s a few years away from making a break into the big leagues.
C Tres Barrera
Tres Barrera is one of the names mentioned by District on Deck as part of the return for Cole Hamels. I agree with them here as Barrera, 23, has the makings of a solid defensive catcher and shows flashes of power from the right side of the plate which Texas needs. This would give them a great young catching option and is a player I doubt Washington is overly attached to.
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Other names I think the Texas Rangers would be interested in are Jackson Tetreault and Sterling Sharp.