As Manny Machado settles into his rental apartment or hotel room for the next 3 months, the Phillies must turn their attention to make a deal at the deadline in a new direction. While I don't think Matt Klentak has to be a seller or buyer this deadline. One familiar face the Phillies should divert their attention to is Cole Hamels.
There’s already been speculation of a possible Cole Hamels return earlier in the season and it certainly seems that Cole is on board.
Although the argument can be made that Hamels hasn't hasn’t been worth the $22.5 million price tag at this point in his career, there are still multiple reasons to add the 34-year-old veteran to a young Phillies roster.
The first is leadership. With over 2400 career innings under his belt, good luck finding a better mentor for young arms than Hamels. After adding veterans arms to the roster in the names of Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek, it’s clear that the front office is intrigued by the idea of adding veteran guys to surround some of our young guns.
The second is that he’s still Cole Hamels. Like we said earlier, Cole may not be worthy of walking away with over $20 million a season in his pocket, but he’s still one of the best in the game when he’s on his stuff. Even after dealing with an oblique strain that limited him to just 24 starts last season, Hamels put together 26 wins over the past 2 seasons.
The last reason I wanna see Cole back in town is - let's be honest - this team needs to start thinking playoffs. I'm all in on the Phillies making the playoff this year. This team has enough talent and enough chemistry to walk away with the first division title since 2011. Hamels’ 98.1 innings pitched in the postseason is easily a difference maker in a short series come October. Cole’s 08’ postseason run is enough to send chills down your spine.
I ain't gonna lie, this summer has been rough for the city of Philadelphia. After we found out Brett Brown fucking sucks at “star hunting” and the Dodgers trumping a handshake agreement on Machado, this city is due for a move to go our way. Do the right thing, #BringColeHome.
This may sound like a cop out, but let me make the case.
This is a really weak offensive market.
Manny Machado was the only true difference maker available. There isn't a JD Martinez sitting out there waiting to be traded.
They may need a big bat, but they don't have an obvious hole. The bats that are "available" would almost be a lateral move to what they already have.
I would love to upgrade right field, third base, or even shortstop but...
Maikel Franco has turned it on lately batting .339 with an OPS of .964 over the last month.
Nick Williams isn't great, but has been more than serviceable. His average is up to .245, and has 11 homers in only 237 at bats.
Scott Kingery leaves a lot to be desired, but it's way too early to pull the plug on the rookie.
Their biggest problem is consistency.
Since they were unable to acquire the superstar, a utility type of player that can fill-in when one guy is slumping, may be the next best thing.
Think Ben Zobrist with KC in 2015 and Chicago in 2016.
Here's 3 names..
1. Whit Merrifield (2B, 3B, 1B, RF) Royals
We have talked about Whit for a few weeks now. He's a Zobrist clone. He hits for a good average (.348 over the last month) some power (19 homers last year) and steals bases (17 already this season.) He is under team control until 2022.
2. Eduardo Escobar (3B, 2B, SS) Twins
This is the guy Jon Heyman loves, and Billy mentioned to me as well.
The more I looked into Escobar, the more I saw the fit. He has nice numbers across the board: .271/14 HRs/57 RBIs.
He's also a switch hitter, which would make him a perfect platoon option.
Unlike Merrifield, he can play shortstop. If Kingery were to continue to struggle, Escobar could play a significant role.
Escobar has an OPS of .834, so obviously that would be an upgrade.
He’s a rental, so the price shouldn’t be too high.
3. Nick Castellanos (RF, 3B) Tigers
Castellanos isn't exactly a super utility player like Merrifield and Escobar, but he can play both third base and right field, and provides the power bat that the Phillies should be looking for.
He's putting up some big numbers this season: 15 HRs/56 RBIs/.305 Avg/.877 OPS.
He would be a monumental upgrade over Aaron Altherr as the right handed side of the right field platoon, and if Maikel Franco goes back to being 2017 Franco, he could play third base.
Although he can play two positions, he isn't a great defender by any means. But as we have seen so far this season, it doesn't seem like the Phillies really care all that much about defense.
Castellanos is under team control until 2020.
If the Phillies don't upgrade it would be a disservice to their players and coaches. They have come this far, it's time for their general manager to reward them with some help for a playoff push.
It would also be a disservice to the fans. Yes we can be impatient and demanding, but this a great fan base who has watched some really bad baseball for the last five years.
They don't need to make a mega-deal, or get into any bidding wars, but a minor move could go a long way.