Lefty ace Cole Hamels (photo above) could be going to the Dodgers, and closer Jonathan Papelbon (photo below) may be ticketed to Toronto.
By Sam Bush
The urgency with which the Phillies have approached trades has been non-existent.
Blame general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who seems to be petrified to trade someone and get back less than equal value — let alone more.
And that would be the end of his woeful incumbency as GM.
But sometimes events take over. Injuries, for instance.
So two trades that were perceived to be undoable may now be on the front burner:
Cole Hamels to the Dodgers
With the uncertainty surrounding Hyun-Jin Ryu and his chronically sore left shoulder, the Dodgers’ need for a frontline starter ramped up significantly over the past few days. The hope is that Ryu, who has won 28 games and owns a 3.17 ERA over the last two seasons, will only need rest and can return to the rotation in April. But there is concern that he will continue to have issues, and there is no better pitcher to replace him than Hamels.
With the recent signings of infielder Hector Olivera and right-hander Pablo Fernandez — both from Cuba — L.A.’s front office has more flexibility to part with shortstop Corey Seager or lefty Julio Urias, one of whom would be required to get a Hamels deal done.
With Marcus Stroman out for the season with a knee injury, Toronto is in desperate need of pitching. The Jays are filling the Stroman void by moving top prospect Aaron Sanchez to the rotation, but that has created a hole in the bullpen.
The Blue Jays recently named Brett Cecil as their closer, but his inconsistency with command (4.6 walks per nine innings in 2014) and inexperience with the role (just six saves in 126 appearances over the last two seasons) makes him more suitable in the earlier part of the game, with Papelbon becoming a natural replacement.
The Jays wouldn’t even have to give up much in terms of talent if they are willing to eat the $13 million that Papelbon is owed this year and are prepared to pay his $13 million option for 2016, which vests if he finishes 55 games this season.