The Chicago Cubs claimed Philadelphia Phillies’ starting pitcher Cole Hamels on revocable waivers on Wednesday night.
With the claim, the Cubs and Phillies now have two days to attempt to work out a trade involving Hamels. If the two teams can not work out a trade within the next 48 hours, the Hamels is taken off waivers and can’t be placed on waivers again for another 30 days.
When the news was first reported of the Cubs claiming Hamels, the belief was that the Cubs were one of the teams that Hamel could block a trade to via his no-trade clause.
That does not appear to be the case.
According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Cubs are on Hamels’ list of teams that he would accept a trade to.
More fodder for the Hamels-to-Cubs rumors: Sources say Cubs ARE on his approved trade list. Turns out Red Sox are NOT on that list
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) August 7, 2014
Now, the fact that the Cubs are one of Hamels’ approved teams does not signal that a trade is likely with the Phillies. Though, it is one less hurdle that the Cubs have to clear.
Hamels makes sense for the Cubs.
While the Theo Epstein regime has typically been against paying a high-price for pitchers on the wrong side of 30, Hamels, 30, likely would be worth the risk.
Hamels signed a six-year, $144 million contract extension with the Phillies that expires in 2018. Hamels is set to earn $22.5 million in each season through 2018. In 2019, Hamels has a club-option for $19 million that can be bought out for $6 million.
The $22.5 million figure may seem high, but when looking at Hamels’ value, the contract could work to the favor of the Cubs.
Hamels currently has a WAR this season of 3.0 wins. A WAR of 3.0 this season gives Hamels a value of $16 million. Though, if Hamels continues to pitch at the rate he is, chances are he will finish with a WAR around 4 wins. Such a mark would put Hamels’ value around $20 million.
Once you factor in inflation on the price of starting pitchers over the next couple of seasons, Hamels’ $22.5 million each season through 2018 figures to look like quite the steal. Therefore, assuming Hamels keeps pitching with a WAR value around 4 wins, something he has done in each of the past three years prior to 2014, then the Cubs would be financially inclined to acquire Hamels now as opposed to signing a free agent pitcher in the coming seasons.
The problem is it takes two to tango and the Phillies don’t appear to be inclined to trade Hamels at this point.