By Patrick Brewer, Lead National League Writer
Let me start by saying the Diamondbacks did not get Cole Hamels as I stated was possible in my previous article yesterday afternoon. With that being said, the Diamondbacks should still be in the market for a starting pitcher or two in the offseason. Now getting back to the topic at hand. Cole Hamels was finally traded and the Texas Rangers were the winner of the Cole Hamels sweepstakes. The eight player deal was finally consummated late Friday night. In return for LHP Cole Hamels and LHP Jake Diekman along with cash (9.5 million), the Phillies have acquired LHP Matt Harrison, RHP Alec Asher, RHP Jerad Eickhoff, OF Nick Williams, C/1B Jorge Alfaro and RHP Jake Thompson. This trade is still pending physicals and will most likely be completed sometime early in the morning on Thursday.
At first glance this seems like a great trade for both sides. The Phillies finally shipped Hamels out-of-town and got five of the Rangers top thirty prospects including three of their top ten and two of their top five. They did have to take some money on with the contract of Matt Harrison but he provides a good stop-gap for the Phillies for the next few years while they work on their rebuild. On the other side the Rangers got their man in Cole Hamels and did not have to give up any of their top three prospects in Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara, or Dillon Tate and another highly touted prospect in Chi Chi Gonzalez. At face value this looks like a pretty even trade for both sides.
Obviously the Rangers got a pretty sure thing in Cole Hamels. He is still under contract for the next three years with a fourth year guaranteed if he pitches 400 innings between 2017 and 2018 with at least 200 of those innings coming in 2018. The total sum of the rest of the contract after this year is 92.5 million over the next four years if his 2019 option does vest, with some of that cost being offset by the full contract of Matt Harrison over the next two, or possibly three, years and some of it being offset by the 9.5 million of cash going from the Phillies to the Rangers as part of the deal. Matt Harrison’s contract pays him at least 26.4 million over the next two years with a 13.25 million dollar option for the third year or a 2 million dollar buyout for 2018.
On the other side, the Phillies basically paid for quite a prospect haul with the acquisition of Matt Harrison and his contract from the Rangers. In return for Hamels, Diekman, cash and taking on the contract of Matt Harrison, the Phillies got RHP Alec Asher, RHP Jerad Eickhoff, OF Nick Williams, C/1B Jorge Alfaro, and RHP Jake Thompson. Basically the Phillies got five prospects for Cole Hamels, a throw in reliever and agreeing to take on the contract of Matt Harrison.
According to MLB Pipeline, the Phillies are getting the 4th, 5th, 6th, 17th, and 29th best prospects in the Texas Rangers system. Of all the Rangers prospects that were traded RHP Jake Thompson is the highest rated as the fourth best prospect in the Rangers farm system. He’s currently in Double A and has had some struggles but he is projected to be at least a 3rd starter with the potential to be a 2nd starter if he reaches his ceiling.
Beyond Thompson are two hitters in OF Nick Williams and C/1B Jorge Alfaro ranked as the fifth and sixth prospects in the Rangers system. Williams has been absolutely tearing up Double A this year and is projected to be ready for the big leagues in 2016. He currently has a slash line of .300/.357/.480 in Double A and could be a strong five tool player once he gets to the big leagues. Jorge Alfaro is another high ceiling prospect but he definitely comes with some possible question marks. He has a lot of power at the plate and a strong-arm behind the plate but he has yet to develop good enough plate discipline and has also yet to polish the rest of his skills at the catcher position. He has strong skills and has a high upside if he develops better discipline at the plate and a more complete game behind it. Beyond that a recent injury has set back his development and has possibly delayed his timetable for getting to the big leagues.
The final two prospects the Phillies got in return for Hamels were the 17th best prospect in the Rangers system in, RHP Jerad Eickhoff, and the 29th best prospect in the system, RHP Alec Asher. Eickhoff is currently in Triple A and has the potential to be a third starter should he improve his changeup and command. At worst he could be a strong reliever long-term with a plus fastball, a plus curveball, and a good slider. Finally Alec Asher is another Triple A level starter with a bit of a lower ceiling than either Thompson or Eickhoff. He is projected as a mid-rotation, innings eater and could develop into a decent pitcher for the Phillies long-term.
So in summation the Rangers got their guy in Cole Hamels, ended up not having to pay the full cost of his salary, and were able to keep four of their top ten prospects in Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara, Dillon Tate, and Chi Chi Gonzalez. The Rangers did have to give up some quality prospects in Thompson, Williams, and Alfaro, but they come out of this trade looking strong long-term. With a possible rotation of Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Derek Holland, Dillon Tate, and Chi Chi Gonzalez long-term, and both Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara on the verge of playing every day at the big league level, the Rangers come out of this trade with the possibility of a bright future. On the other side the Phillies got three of the Rangers top ten prospects and got two strong hitters they can build around for years to come as well as one possible top of the rotation starter, two middle of the rotation starters, and one experienced big leaguer in Matt Harrison to help them during their transition. The Phillies came out with the strong prospect haul for Hamels that they always wanted. If an instant evaluation of this trade must be made, both teams came out as big winners going forward.
Patrick Brewer is the Lead National League Writer for Call to the Bullpen. You can find Patrick on Twitter@PatrickBrewer93 or join in the discussion @CTBPod, in the comment section below or on our Facebook Page.