Talks with Phils for Hamels heating up
With the deadline approaching, the rumors that have flourished between the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies may be gaining some traction. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has reported the Cubs are indeed willing to offer Starlin Castro or Javier Baez, but not both as some previous reports have indicated. The Texas Rangers also appear to be engaging in talks for the services of the lefty Cole Hamels, who would be under team control for another four years.
The demands of the Phillies have been high from the start, but it seems they may have backed off some of their initial expectations for Hamels. After dealing Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers, and Chase Utley in the twilight of his career–the Cubs could offer the Phillies a solution to their middle infield needs.
The Cubs have more reason to keep Castro than they do for dealing him, especially as they essentially would be selling low, as the three-time All-Star is mired in another slump of a season. A career .279 hitter, he’s failed to pull out of the mid .200’s while striking out more frequently.
In Baez, the Cubs would still be giving up one of their top prospects–although he’s not as prized as he once was. He seemed to be gaining confidence before fracturing a finger while sliding into a base in June. He’s preparing to possibly start a rehab assignment soon, but the Phillies would be gambling on a player that while having potential, is coming off of injury and scuffled in his first go-round in the big leagues.
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With Addison Russell “unofficially” the future shortstop of the Cubs, one of the two players would be an acceptable loss to gain the services of Hamels, who would be more like an offseason signing than a “rental” pitcher, ala David Price. The Cubs could of course sign Price, or they could save the prospects and simply pursue him this winter.
Castro has established the ability to be successful at the Major League level but has frustrated the team and fans with his inconsistent play. Baez was once the golden boy of Cubs prospects but has fallen in the last year–but is still very capable of great things and brings a solid glove with him to whichever position he would land at.
Hamels would be a great pickup for the Cubs, and losing Baez and Castro would be a fair offer–but more than the Cubs should consider. There would be a hole left by the departure of the two, leaving just Russell and Jonathan Herrera to man the middle. Russell is another high ceiling but low results player right now. They believe he will be special, but right now he’s a .220 hitter at the plate.
So what do you think Cubs’ fans? What are your thoughts?