Cole Hamels to Texas Rangers Becomes Official

The long trade of Cole Hamels has officially been completed. Both the Rangers and Phillies have confirmed that the trade is now official and Hamels will arrive in Texas this evening to join the Rangers.

For a while late Wednesday afternoon, everything got eerily quiet on the Cole Hamels front. After reports coming around throughout the day that the Rangers were creeping closer to a deal, everything stopped. Then, just as the Blue Jays were putting the finishing touches on a butt-whooping that they gave to the Phillies in Toronto, the tornado hit. News starting going fast and furious about the two teams putting the finishing touches on the deal.

The deal sends Hamels and reliever Jake Diekman to Texas for five prospects and a veteran major league pitcher with a pretty big contract, considering his production over the past couple of seasons. The Phillies will reportedly get left-hander Matt Harrison, who has been injured much of the last two seasons and has a deal lasting through 2017 that guarantees him $13.2-million in each of the next two years, plus a $2-million buyout. Harrison won 18 games for Texas in 2012 and signed a five-year, $55-million deal following the season. Over the last two seasons though, he made just six starts because of injuries. He came off the disabled list a couple of weeks ago and has made three starts this season, with a 1-2 record and a 6.75 ERA. Harrison had surgery to repair a herniated disk in 2013 and seemed healthy coming into the 2014 season, but suffered another back injury requiring lumbar spinal disc fusion surgery. There was some speculation that Harrison's career was over.

As for the prospects coming to the Phillies, the key piece could be catcher Jorge Alfaro. The good news is that coming into the season, Alfaro was the Rangers top prospect. The bad news is that he underwent surgery in mid-June to repair a break in his ankle and could miss the rest of the season. Alfaro, 22, has big defensive skills and a canon for an arm. He's put up good offensive numbers, with five home runs and 21 RBI with a .253 average. He's a career .261 hitter in the minors, with 52 home runs over six minor league seasons.

Outfielder Nick Williams, 21, also one of the Rangers better prospects, is also reportedly involved in the deal. As rumors of the trade were circulating, Williams was pulled from a game at Double-A Frisco. He's hitting an even .300 this season with 13 home runs and 45 RBI. In four minor league seasons, Williams has 45 home runs and is a .294 hitter. Williams can play all three outfield positions, but has played primarily in left field (201 games), but has played 85 games in center and 15 in right. He's got a decent arm and average fielding numbers.

The other three prospects are all right-handed pitchers. Jerad Eickhoff, 25, was also pulled out of a game with Triple-A Round Rock. On the season, Eickhoff is 8-4 with a 4.47 ERA in 17 games (16 starts). In five seasons, he's compiled a 41-26 record and has a 4.24 ERA in the Rangers system. Jake Thompson is another highly touted prospect, pitching at Double-A Frisco. Thompson, 21, came to the Rangers in a deal with Detroit last season and has a career mark of 20-16, 3.45 in 64 starts and two relief appearances. The final prospect is righty Alec Asher. The 23-year old made his Triple-A debut earlier this season and is 3-6 with a 4.73 ERA in 12 starts with Round Rock. Asher has made 73 starts and 21 relief appearances in his career, but has been exclusively a starter since 2013. In his career, he's 26-31 and has posted a 3.62 ERA in the Rangers organization.

Hamels met with the Philadelphia media early Friday afternoon before he and Diekman headed to Texas to join their new team.


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