Ken Rosenthal of FOX wrote an interesting column (linked here) on Monday regarding Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels and the trade rumors surrounding him. I would submit that it’s a given that Hamels is going to be traded at some point. Philadelphia is in rebuilding mode, and my personal opinion is that Hamels is worth more to them on the trade market than he is on the roster. So the question that burns is whether or not the Baltimore Orioles should consider trading for Hamels…?
My personal response would be…NO. I know, I know…you’re thinking, WHAT?! I get it – Hamels is hot right now on the
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trade market, and he’s arguably in the prime of his career. Could the Orioles really go wrong by acquiring him? And the answer to that is no, they couldn’t go wrong…per se. He would be a welcome addition to the pitching staff, and I’m sure that he would do as well for the Orioles as he has in Philadelphia.
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However while the O’s do have some inflated ERA’s in their starting rotation, think over how the season has gone thus far. How many games have we seen where the starter’s gotten rocked big time early on and has lasted all of one to three innings? Those games exist, but they’re the exception rather than the rule.
More specifically, the Orioles have had games where they’ve had little to no run support. Even on Monday it took two homers to beat a team to which the Orioles held to three runs. So their problem thus far has been offense as opposed to starting pitching. This is not to say that the likes of Chris Tillman among others can’t work on getting their run total down, because they can. However in the interim, my personal opinion is that the starters are okay.
And the good news is that once some of the Orioles’ regulars get back on the field, things will undoubtedly improve offensively. When you insert Matt Wieters in place of Caleb Joseph who then slides into the Ryan Lavarnway slot, your offensive numbers will look a lot better overall. (I suspect that Joseph will catch a lot more often than Lavarnway ever did, but you get my point.) When Jonathan Schoop replaces Everth Cabrera at second base, the offensive production will go up.
And this leads me into what the O’s would have to give up for Hamels. If they could trade someone such as Bud Norris or even Miguel Gonzalez, I’d say go for it. However I’m not sure that Philadelphia would accept that. A rebuilding team as such is going to look for prospects. And for the time being, the Orioles can’t really give them any. That will change after this year’s draft, but the wings are kind of bare at the moment. And the O’s certainly aren’t going to offer big league ready talent for a pitch that they probably don’t need as it is for the time being.
Again, this is just my view for the moment – take it or leave it. There are probably reasons that are just as compelling as to why the O’s should trade for Hamels. And if you have one I’d love to hear it in the form of a comment! But the Orioles under Duquette and Showalter are as much about smartly acquiring players as anything else. And I’m just not sure trading for a pitcher they don’t need would satisfy that requirement.
Incidentally, this is not to say that the Orioles shouldn’t consider making a deal with Philadelphia in some manner. That’s going to act as a bit of a teaser for another column on another day, however these two franchises have been trade partners previously – and they might just fit the bill of becoming trade partners again. For what it’s worth, Philadelphia will be down at Camden Yards for a two-game set later next month, and the Orioles will return the favor and head up to Philly for two as well.