MLB Trade Rumors: Cole Hamels is a Chicago Cub trade target, according to multiple folks on the Twitbox — Jim Bowden says the Cubs are in “strong pursuit” to get the Texas Rangers veteran lefthander, while Joel Sherman says that the Cubs are “more involved” than other teams, but no deal is in place.
The Cubs wouldn’t have seemed before the season to have been a team in the market for starting pitching at the deadline, as they got Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood in free agency, adding them to Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Kyle Hendricks. However, none of the five has a FIP better than 4.48, Darvish is on the disabled list and is expected to be out several more weeks, and Chatwood has been unable to throw strikes, with 85 walks against 82 Ks in 94 innings of work this season after yet another wild start today of less than five innings.
With Chatwood looking like a failed signing and Darvish on the shelf, the Cubs, who are 2.5 games up on Milwaukee in the N.L. Central (but who are trailing the D-Backs as I type this), could use a veteran starting pitcher to help shore up the rotation. One can reasonably wonder whether Hamels, with a 4.72 ERA and a 5.20 FIP, is really much of an answer, but his he’s pitched much better on the road than at home this year, and there seem to be some indications he’s been distracted by trade talk, so one could hope that moving out of TBiA and getting the trade talk behind him could help.
The Cubs are not on Hamels’ no-trade list, so he could not veto a trade there.
The Rangers would have to eat at least some of Hamels’ outstanding obligation in pretty mcuh any deal — he’s making $23 million this year, and has a $6 million buyout on a $20 million team option for 2019 — and aren’t likely to get big time prospects back for him, but with the 2018 season a lost cause for Texas, this would allow them to recoup something for Hamels.