Now before we get giddy over the idea of the Cubs adding a perennial Cy Young award candidate to their starting rotation, there are two major hurdles that deem a trade between the Cubs and Phillies highly unlikely.
The first hurdle is that the Cubs are one of the teams that Hamel can block a trade too. Meaning the Phillies would have to convince Hamels to accept a trade to Chicago.
If the Cubs clear that hurdle, then the team would need to work out a trade with the Phillies within the next two days. The Phillies were rebuffed in their attempts to trade Hamels before July 31, when they could negotiate with any MLB team, as teams balked at their asking price for the starting pitcher. While the Cubs do have the top farm system in baseball, it seems unlikely that the team will be able to satisfy the Phillies’ needs within the next two days.
Hamels is signed through the 2018 season while making $22.5 million in each season. The Cubs, considering their lack of financial obligations after this season, could easily afford Hamel’s contract. So the Cubs’ angle in their trade talks could be the fact that they could offer salary relief. Though, the more money the Phillies absorb of Hamels’ contract, then that improves the potential trade package that they could receive from the Cubs.
So the chances of the Cubs’ acquiring Hamels over the course of the next two days are slim to none.
That being said, if, for the sake of this article, the Cubs do acquire Hamels then that would give the team the one thing that they are believed to be targeting this off-season–an impact starting pitcher. And, the fact that the Cubs claimed Hamels signals that the team believes they are close to contending.
Hamels, 30, is 6-6 with the Phillies this season in 20 starts while posting an ERA of 2.42 and an ERA+ of 154.
Hamels would be paired with Jake Arrieta at the top of the Cubs’ starting rotation and that would seemingly put the team in a position to contend for the 2015 season.