Cole Hamels has become one of the most watched players during this season's march towards the trade deadline. The Phillies leftie is much better than his record or his team's standings would indicate and he could be a critical component in the Giants' quest for a fourth world series win, if they acquire him.The problem is, nobody knows if the Giants are going to get him or not. While some reporters are reporting that the Giants are "in the mix" for Hamels, others report that they've fallen out of favor and, still, others report that there's no interest from the team at all. It is easy to chalk this up to "too many cooks in the kitchen" all reporting on a completely speculative story that may not play out until the final minutes of the deadline (Friday).
It is without doubt, though, that Hamels would be a good addition to the Giants pitching rotation which has suffered through injury and regression this season and last night's performance by Matt Cain may be the final straw to convince the front office that the team is in need of some fine tuning on the mound. Since his return on July 2, Cain has a 4.50 ERA in five games and has yet to pitch more than 6 innings. He's also given up four home runs in those five games and has 1.32 WHIP. Using the metric we discussed in an earlier article, (ER/IP)WHIP, his rating is .660, respectable, but a dip from his 2014 .583 or his 2013 .514. There is a steady regression with Cain that, while not necessarily cause for a demotion, should signal the need for another solid arm.
That also speaks nothing of Tim Lincecum and his uncertain future with the team. While Bochy has indicated that Timmy will pitch again this season, nobody has given a definitive answer as to what his role would be. If they are planning on using him out of the bullpen, even more reason to grab Hamels.
With the obvious exception of his start against the Giants on July 10 where he was lit up for 9 earned runs in 3.1 innings, Hamels has been a fairly strong pitcher with little or no run support. When he does struggle, he tends to struggle big with six of his seven losses having 4+ earned runs but when he's solid, as he was in July 25th's no hitter, he is very solid. Using the same metric we used to evaluate Cain, Hamels is sitting at .477, ranking higher than Cain (.660), Hudson (.751), and Vogelsong (.595). For reference, Bumgarner carries a .386.
Obviously, this metric is not perfect at evaluating talent but it does serve to illustrate how Hamels would slot in as a solid number three or four in the rotation and with the run support San Francisco can provide, it should be expected that Hamels numbers would improve over the course of this season and future seasons with the Giants.
But, we digress. The main issue here is, will they acquire him. The team is unwilling to give up "foundation youth" as John Shea tweeted earlier this morning and yet are considered leaders in the discussions. It seems unlikely that the team is willing to give up any of their core major league talent so the only option left is a care package of fringe prospects and cash which is a deal several other teams would likely beat.
The inevitable Hamels trade could come down to the very last minutes leading up to the deadline and, potentially, could include more than two teams to get it done but it is very unclear where the Giants fit in to this mess of rumors and speculation and what they are truly willing to part with to get it. Stay tuned.
It is being reported that Hamels is headed to the Texas Rangers and the Giants are in talks to acquire David Price from the Tigers.