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Monday, March 9, 2015

Bullet dodged? The Yankees almost traded a bunch of prospects for Cole Hamels

Yesterday, the MLB Rumors website - rumored that the Evil Empire has "come the closest" this winter to obtaining Phillies starter Cole Hamels via a prospect package deal. In exchange for the 31-year-old Hamels, they would supposedly give Philadelphia several young players - more than anybody else has offered.

Luis Serverino? Could be gone. Aaron Judge? Possibly. Greg Bird? Who knows?

It's not as if the Yankees have an exploding excess of prospects, and need to burn them off at the well head. It's not as if we would instantly become frontrunners in the AL East. As The Master says, you can't predict baseball, but the Yankee rotation is as thin as a coat of Windex, and right now, even with Hamels, they'd be lucky to escape spring training with five healthy starters.  

Hamels, 31, has thrown more than 200 innings in each of the last five years. Over his career, he averages more than 200 innings per season. Last year, with Philadelphia, he went 9-9, though his ERA was excellent: 2.45.

Most frightening, though, is his contract. Hamels is signed through 2019 at $23 million per year. That will have him pitching through age 35, and - in the final incarnation - face a $24 million team vesting option and/or a $6 million buyout. Statistically, Hamels conforms most precisely to the career of Jake Peavy, who is deteriorating rapidly at age 33 and who - in fact, began to fall apart at 31. A guy can only throw so many innings. Hamels is nearly his sell-by date.

So... here are the Yankees - who wouldn't spend $60 million on 19-year-old Yoan Mocada - but they offered a package of prospects for a 31-year-old pitcher who would cost them - at the least - $98 million - (counting the $6 million buyout) - through 2019?

Dear God. It's 1984 all over again. It's the Steinbrenner family incompetence gene.

I recognize that many modern bloggers are too young to remember Doug Drabek, Al Leiter, Jose Rijo, Willie McGee and Jay Buhner. They know about the deals from reading River Ave. Nobody recalls the talent those young players showed, or the anger that that trades provoked among the fan base. They think the Yankee organization is too smart to make a dumb deal.

To be drunk on hubis is a wondrous feeling.

A lot of young fans - and writers - simply cannot believe a team with as much money as the Yankees can fall apart. (Though they watched it happen in Boston.)

I assure you, the Yankees can fall apart.

Trading prospects for Cole Hamels - which the Yankees apparently tried to do - is the perfect way to dial us back to the 1980s.

Yesterday, a report out of the Cactus League said the Diamondbacks believe Pete O'Brien looks like a future frontline catcher. The Yankees didn't think so. They traded O'Brien - their best power-hitting prospect - last summer for a drunken charge at the final Wild Card slot. We can't keep going from July to July, always bobbing in the waves, trading the future for a chance to entice fans to watch in September. At some point, the Yankees must change. Apparently, they still don't know this.

We almost traded for Cole Hamels. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

1 comment:

The Ghost of Scott Brosius said...

I think the verb tense in your headline is off. I think we're still very interested in him, and I am actually really OK with this.

Hamels is one of my top 10 favorite non-Yankee players in MLB. He'll look great in pinstripes considering we have no other reliable lefty behind CC (who at this point is not very reliable himself). I have a feeling Cash gets the Phillies to eat some of that contract. And even if we don't win now with him, we'll at least block the Red Sox in their quest for a 4th title in 12 years (did I just write that?). If Hamels is traded there, in my book, they instantly become the favorite to make it to the WS out of the AL.

The biggest reason I would be for this trade is there is no way we give up anything of value for him. Ruben Amaro is one of the top 5 worst talent evaluators in baseball. If he wants a guy in our system, I guarantee that kid is more Eduardo Nunez Jr. than Fred McGriff Jr.