December 10, 2014

No Lester — will the Sawks chase Hamels yet?

Cole Hamels —
next stop Boston?
Now that Jon Lester has inked his free agent contract with the Chicago Cubs instead of heading back to Boston, what will Red Sox GM Ben Cherington do next?

The general consensus is that if he wouldn't pay for Lester, then he sure won't pay for Max Scherzer.

And, if he was looking lefty-specific, too, that leaves trading for the Phillies' starter Cole Hamels as his next move.

So, if you're Ruben J. Amaro, with a chance to ask high — but yet realistically and not idiotically (you're wrong in your vote of confidence, Pat Gillick) — who do you want?

Here's a possibility.

I’d “accept” Allen Craig back with Mookie Betts and, say, Jackie Bradley plus top catching prospect Blake Swihart if I don’t push for Xander Bogaerts. (Jimmy Rollins is still OK, at least, so Bogaerts is not a "must," unlike OF upgrades.) Takes multiple OFs off Sawks hands, gambles on any sort of bounce back year from Craig, who can, of course, play 1B against righties if you don’t move Ryan Howard, or play 1B all the time if you do, and theoretically gives you your backstop of the future to replace Carlos Ruiz. And, by taking Craig's not small, but growing, contract, it does a bit of a financial "solid" back to Cherington while still reducing payroll and also building for the future.

Or, if you want to rebuild pitching, see if Matt Barnes might be in the mix.

This isn't set in stone, but something like this is quite realistic.

It's, note to Phils manager Ryne Sandberg? This is enough that it should "blow you away," as well as Ruben. And, it's something where you shouldn't idly sit by, waiting for Cherington to talk to you first, Ruben.

The package that ESPN suggests Theo would offer for Hamels? If it's lacking all three of Betts, Swihart and Barnes, I pass, if I'm Amaro. (And, Phillies fans, don't blame him if he does.) That's written from ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes and is as much PR for the Sawks as it is reality — it offers nothing but lower-level prospects and possibly Bradley as a throw-in.  And, that's far from the first time that Edes has written something that's as much PR as it is straight sports reporting, in my opinion.

For once in the past five years, Amaro is at least halfway in the driver's seat. Ask high, especially if you're willing to take Craig back on a gamble.

Besides, Hamels has better sabermetrics than Lester, albeit with a few more innings on his arm, and costs less, if only a touch less.

Of course, Boston is on Hamels' no-trade list, and may not change his mind.

As for a few fans, on HBT, who think it's ridiculous? "Aceepting" Craig back ... remember, his contract accelerates a lot in 2016 and 2017, and a bounce-back is a definite gamble ... would theoretically increase Amaro's haul. That's part of why I suggested it. It is a bit like eating some of Hamels' salary, but getting a small bit of return back. So, I think my idea is more reasonable than what Edes thinks the Sawks should offer. If Swihart is too much of an "ask" without return, offer Chooch back as part of the deal.

As for fans who would wonder why I could "tell" Theo this or that? I'm just blogging about a realistic trade possibility between two teams.

No comments: