ESPN’S STARK: PHILLIES’ HAMELS, PAPELBON TRADE WINDOW CLOSING

By Sam Bush

The more things change the more they remain the same.

And with the Phillies feckless general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., it was ever thus.

With another trade deadline approaching, Amaro again is hoping to land big returns for Cole Hamels (above) and Jonathan Papelbon.

Will the Phils get something done this year?

ESPN.com baseball insider Jayson Stark thinks there’s a good shot that both Hamels and Papelbon still will be with the Phillies in August.

Appearing as a guest Tuesday morning on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike show, Stark said, “The Phillies are the team that I think everyone is watching because of Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon. Me personally, I actually don’t think it’s a lock that they trade either one.

“In Papelbon’s case, they might have missed their window on him. They had a chance to trade him last month when there were really no other closers on the market. Now they’re in a window where guys like Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbel and Tyler Clippard and Francisco Rodriquez are all out there. It’s possible that they don’t get Papelbon moved. Still a lot of complications with the back end of that contract.”

If Papelbon finishes 16 more games, his $13 million vesting option for 2016 becomes guarantees.

In addition to being hit hard in his last two starts, Hamels’ contract probably will scare off some contenders. He’s only in the third season of a six-year, $144 million contract that will pay him $22.5 million in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and includes a $20 million club option or $6 million buyout for 2019.

“In Hamels’ case, Ruben Amaro told me again (on Monday) that he doesn’t feel any sense of urgency to move Cole Hamels unless he gets an equitable deal,” Stark said. “He’s been looking for a huge return for 12 months now. It’s a price that no one has wanted to pay. Now we’ve got complications of (new team president) Andy MacPhail as another voice in this mix along with (outgoing team president) Pat Gillick. There’s a lot of people trying to stir the pot in Philadelphia.

“I think the two teams to watch here are the Dodgers and Cubs, especially the Dodgers. If Zack Greinke opts out, and why wouldn’t he, their starting rotation next year essentially would consist of Clayton Kershaw, period. No team has more of a motivation to go get Cole Hamels than the Dodgers. But if the Phillies continue to ask for either or both of their best two prospects, (outfielder) Corey Seager or (left-handed pitcher) Julio Urias, that’s just not going to happen.”

 

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