Cole Hamels, Chicago Cubs trade talks may be heating up


When the Philadelphia Phillies placed Cole Hamels on revocable waivers last year, the Chicago Cubs put in a claim for the Phils starter. The two teams were unable to work out a deal in the three-day window, but the off-season may allow the two to work out a possible deal.

According to Jon Heyman, the Cubs still have interest in Hamels, and will look to speak to the Phillies again about a trade.

Now that the hiring of Joe Maddon is complete, the Cubs can turn their focus towards free agency, where they’re expected to be very active. Starting pitching is a top priority, and how they value each available pitcher is unknown. Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields are all believed to be on the radar. Hamels becomes another option, and possibly at a better rate than the available free agents.

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Scherzer turned down a $144 million contract before spring training, and Hamels, due $96 million over the next four years would be a budget signing compared to those numbers. Lester is considered the most likely to sign with the Cubs, mostly due to his relationship with Theo Epstein in Boston. Shields was on the outside of the radar, but he has a history with Maddon in Tampa Bay, so he can’t be discounted either.

Last season, Hamels had a nine-team list he would accept a trade to. The Cubs weren’t on that list. He was due to update it November 1, and the changes in Chicago would be enticing to any free agent.

At 30, Hamels hasn’t passed his prime at all. And a quality left-handed starter would be a good signing, regardless if Travis Wood can bounce back from a down year. Hamels finished 9-9, but had a sparkling 2.46 ERA. The Phillies have been clear that they can go either way, and they don’t feel obligated to make a deal. The Cubs are likely the best trade suitor with the depth of their farm system, but it would take a hefty package as they are unwilling to part with any of their top prospects.

The Cubs will examine any and all deals this winter, no matter the likelihood of pulling the trigger. Epstein and Jed Hoyer aren’t going to deal Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, or Kyle Schwarber to get him. He may not be passed his prime, but he’s no longer worth top prospects, especially as he’s due roughly $22 million a year over the next four years.

The off-season may be a domino effect for the Cubs, and in a positive way. Once one top free agent signs, the draw may bring others knocking at Epstein and Hoyer’s door. They won’t break the bank, but two to three top signings won’t be unheard of this winter.