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Texas Rangers trade rumors: Cole Hamels, others available

Ken Rosenthal says the Rangers have informed teams they are open for business to deal veterans

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Texas Rangers v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Texas Rangers trade rumors: MLB trading season hasn’t really started yet, but Cole Hamels will be one of the starting pitchers available this summer for contenders, according to Ken Rosenthal, who says the Rangers have let teams around the league know that they are “open to trades,” though nothing is cooking just yet.

This shouldn’t be surprising, given the Rangers were not exactly favorites for a playoff spot coming into the season, and have stumbled badly out of the gate. Rosenthal identifies Hamels as the “most prominent Ranger” who will be available, though he has a twenty team no trade clause. Among the teams he can be traded to without his permission, however, are the Phillies, the Braves, the Cardinals, the Nationals, the Astros and the Cubs, so if Texas decides to deal Hamels, there are potential contenders who he couldn’t veto deals to.

That being said, Hamels likely isn’t going to bring back a huge return. While Hamels has a 3.48 ERA on the season, that’s with a 4.83 FIP, as he’s continued the trend that started in 2016 of struggling with walks, as well as leading the A.L. in hit batters this season. Since the start of 2017, he has a 4.01 ERA and a 4.67 FIP in 199.2 innings pitched. A team trading for Hamels is going to be looking for a veteran they can count on to handle playoff pressure, not someone to front the rotation.

The Phillies are the team that I’ve thought make sense, given that’s where Hamels spent most of his career, and Philadelphia is a surprising contender. Hamels has a $20 million team option for 2019 with a $6 million buyout, so even if Philly is just on the fringes of the race, they could see Hamels as a complimentary veteran piece to go with offseason additions Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta to help them contend both this year and next year, and the Rangers may be willing to pay the buyout and some of the 2018 salary due to Hamels to help get a better return.

I’ve facetiously suggested that we’ll see a July deal where Hamels and Diekman get sent to Philadelphia for Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro and Jake Thompson, but I don’t think Philadelphia would actually do that.

With the Rangers’ hopes for contending in 2018 out the window, what’s going to matter for the next 10-11 weeks is which veterans stay healthy enough to be dealt. Adrian Beltre has a full no-trade and is dealing with balky hamstrings, so if the Rangers deal him, it won’t be for a significant return. Free-agent-to-be Diekman would seem to be gone come July, if he stays healthy and semi-productive, as well as, potentially, Tony Barnette, Chris Martin and Keone Kela.