Reports surfaced last week that several U.S. Major League Baseball teams have engaged in serious trade discussions for Philadelphia Phillies’ ace pitcher Cole Hamels, but nothing has come together yet and Ruben Amaro Jr. doesn’t seem inclined to lower the current asking price, NBC Sports said.
“I think Cole Hamels is going to be in our uniform, frankly, ” the Phillies’ general manager told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday. “I don’t really foresee him being moved. It is possible because we’re literally keeping our minds and eyes and ears open on every player that we have on our roster. That said, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. And so, if we were to move him, we’re going to have to get some of the best prospects in baseball back.”
Amaro also assured Kaplan that the Phillies’ ownership group “would rather keep him than not”, NBC Sports said.
Hamels, who turned 31 in December, posted an outstanding 2.46 ERA in 204 2/3 innings last season. He is due $94 million over the next four years and carries a $24 million vesting option (or $20 million team option with a $6 million buyout) for 2019, but that’s actually a pretty good rate for an ace in this market, the report said.
Amaro added that he has not faced any pressure to move Hamels, according to the report,
Meanwhile, Amaro said pitcher Cliff Lee has been throwing off a mound without issue and is on track to pitch during spring training, the Inquirer said.
Lee, working his way back from the left elbow injury that ended his season in August, has thrown off a mound three or four times already and is “in his normal progression to get ready for the season, ” Amaro said, according to the report.
“I think he’s kind of champing at the bit, ” Amaro said before a winter banquet hosted by the Phillies’ double-A Reading affiliate. “I don’t think Cliff likes sitting idle and not being able to pitch. I think that’s pretty frustrating for him. He likes to compete.”