Skip to content

Reports: Cubs claimed Cole Hamels off revocable waivers from the Phillies

Aug 7, 2014, 11:41 PM EDT

cole hamels getty Getty Images

We learned yesterday that Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels was claimed off revocable waivers by an unidentified team. We now know the identity of that team.

As first reported by Mike Missanelli of ESPN 97.5 in Philadelphia and confirmed by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs were the team who made the claim. The Phillies can now simply pull Hamels back and keep him, give him (and the $100+ million remaining on his contract) away for nothing, or attempt to work out a trade with the Cubs within 48 hours. However, it’s seen as very unlikely that the two sides will agree to a trade.

Wittenmyer was told by a major league source that the Phillies want one of the Cubs’ prized shortstops in a deal for Hamels. Starlin Castro and Javier Baez would have to pass through revocable waivers to be dealt since they are currently on the 40-man roster, so Wittenmyer speculates that Addison Russell would be the centerpiece of a deal. That’s an understandable demand on the part of the Phillies, but the Cubs would likely prefer to sign a top pitcher in free agency rather than give up top prospects for an ace and still have to pay them huge money. On the flip side, the Phillies would surely prefer to shop Hamels to all 29 teams as opposed to just one.

It’s an interesting scenario to contemplate and it never hurts to talk, but look for Hamels to finish this season in a Phillies uniform.

  1. illadelphiasphinest - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:52 PM

    Russell, Bryant, Solar n it’s a done deal.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:14 AM

      And now we know RAJ’s username

    • Uncle Charlie - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      Soler and NFW

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 8, 2014 at 3:03 PM

      Don’t go printing those Series tickets, Cubs fans!

  2. nsstlfan - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    They just did it so another better team couldn’t.

  3. toodrunktotastethischicken - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    Just for Poops and Giggles, what would it take to get this done? Seems like Russell or Bryant would have to be the starting point.

    • Paper Lions - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:22 AM

      If Philly picks up 1/2 the contract. Otherwise they may as well just sign an expensive guy of their own and give up no prospects.

      • longfootlefty - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:25 AM

        Russell or Bryant would be the ending point. As soon as either of their names are brought up, the phone goes dead.

      • spg3081 - Aug 8, 2014 at 5:46 AM

        Hamels is owed $22.5MM each of the next four years, followed by a team option of $20MM (in that neighborhood, anyways). While that isn’t cheap, his contract is a bit of a bargain compared to the contracts signed around the same time by Verlander, Felix, and Grienke ($25MM, $25MM, $24.5MM, respectively) & it’s less than Sabathia and Lee are being paid, on average ($24MM and $24.4MM, respectively).

        Going one step further, it’s safe to say the next wave of “ace” SP contracts coming this offseason for Scherzer, Lester (assuming he doesn’t return to Boston at a discount) and possibly Shields will exceed the $25MM AAV mark. Price is likely to up the ante further, assuming 2015 is another stellar season for him. Hell, it’s possible the $30MM mark will be reached by another pitcher or pitchers during the remaining four years on Hamel’s deal.

        Hamels is likely to be a better value than anyone the Cubs could sign this offseason or next. Of course, Paper Lion’s point is the key to how much of a value Hamels would be to the Cubs over any FA signing. If the Cubs had a clairvoyant scout on staff, they could agree to ship the stud prospect who’s not going to meet expectations to the Phillies and it’d be a huge win. Of course, the Cubs are based in Chicago, not Fantasy Land.

        It’s a roll of the dice if they deal one of their prized prospects for Hamels. If the prized prospect(s) they part with in the trade meet and/or exceed expectations & the remaining prospects don’t quite match them, then they would have been better off signing Scherzer or Lester to a 7 year/$182MM contract (just a guess that they’ll get at least $26MM annually) to be the staff ace they hoped to pair with their kiddie corp.

        Then again, assuming they would be able to sign one of them (or even Price in 2016) is a big assumption. If the cost of guaranteeing that they’ll obtain their ace is a top prospect & absorbing his entire contract, so be it – in terms of money, they’re saving dollars over what a FA would them. Not to mention they know Hamels will perform at a high level (assuming good health). Too much value can be placed on prospects, to the point that even if they reach their ceiling, most would never make up for passing on a sure fire ace for the pitching staff. The Cubs have some very high-ceiling prospects – even still, betting that all of them will reach it isn’t bright.

        It’d be hard for the Cubs to say no to a reasonable proposal centered around one of their prized kids. Of course, the Cubs could easily shoot for the moon: acquire Hamels and still throw a giant offer at Scherzer and/or Lester. If the kids all come to play & hit the ground running, a good portion of the everyday lineup will be cheap & under team control for the next few years. That leaves lots of room to splurge (unless “splurge” means a 10 year albatross deal in order to lure, say, Scherzer away from a perennial contender & other offers from contenders).

        One minor thing that might affect any or all of the posited scenarios here: the Cubs front office knows the day is approaching, where their plan will have to take the next step and show results on the major league level. They can’t afford to miss out on a staff ace after losing out on Tanaka last offseason. I don’t imagine they’ll be outbid by anyone (within reason – they’d likely bow out if up against any 9-10 year deals or $29MM+ offers).

        It’s time for the front office to start stocking the pitching staff with the talent to match the potential of the lineup. Hopefully it starts here.

      • 76ersdoubletank - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:36 AM

        yeah, but the Cubs don’t have any good pitchers who they can overpay with a huge deal. Plus Hamels has lived up to that contract this year.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:45 AM

        There are these guys called free agents that the Cubs can overpay with a huge deal….and some of them are better pitchers than Hamels.

        Elite talent is rare in baseball, whereas teams are swimming in money with fewer and fewer things to spend it on. From an asset standpoint, it would be much better for the Cubs to overpay in dollars than to overpay in talent….regardless of how abundant their young talent is….they still have far more money to blow.

      • Bob Loblaw - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:53 AM

        So Paper, the question is why not have your cake and eat it too. If you are the Cubs and can get Hamels relatively cheap, and to me, one high-valued stud prospect is cheap for Hamels, PLUS sign a big free agent in the offseason…well, now you’re cooking with gas.

        And I disagree with your assessment of Hamels. I think he is better than anything you are going to get in the FA market and he is cheaper and locked up for less years as well. Unless you think Sherzer or Lester are better than Hamels even though neither are having the season he is this year. Also, if you think either are going to sign for 4/$90 million, which is laughable.

        If the Cubs think they can go for it all next year and try to finally make the frigging playoffs, why not trade Russell and a couple lower prospects now for Hamels, while nobody else is bidding, then sign Scherzer. They have the money. That would be a pretty good 1-2 punch and it may even propel them to a playoff spot.

        Unless they think they are still a couple years away. Then it would make no sense. But trading one stud for Hamels now if they think they can compete next year is a no-brainer.

      • awh01 - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        Paper, you obviously love prospects and their potential, and think they are highly valuable, and they are, to a point. But I caution you about treating them as irreplaceable or as “sure things”.

        For purpose of this exercise, I’ll use the top ten picks in the draft for the last 50 years as a substitute for prospects. You can decide for yourself (as you most certainly will) whether the WAR that the prospects you so desperately want to hold on to will equal or exceed that which a pitcher like Hamels is likely to provide:

        In the last 50 years, 88% of 1.1 picks have made the majors, in the process accumulating 914.2 rWAR. (20.8 rWAR/major leaguer)
        1.2 = 82%, 595 rWAR (14.5/major leaguer)
        1.3 = 80%, 502.3 rWAR (12.6/major leaguer)
        1.4 = 80%, 550 rWAR, (13.8/major leaguer)
        1.5 = 58%, 358.6 rWAR (12.4/major leaguer)
        1.6 = 72%, 508.4 rWAR (14.1/major leaguer)
        1.7 = 68%, 303.5 rWAR (8.9/major leaguer)
        1.8 = 58%, 240.5 rWAR (8.3/major leaguer)
        1.9 = 62%, 257.9 rWAR (8.3/major leaguer)
        1.10 = 80%, 446.1 rWAR (11.2/major leaguer)

        HT: 88Lindros88

      • Paper Lions - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        I’m not treating them like sure things. The reason the Cubs should keep all of them is exactly BECAUSE they are not all sure things.

        Also not sure things, veteran pitchers. Yes, Hamels has a nice track record, but attrition for veteran pitchers is similar to that of young pitchers once they make the majors. Just in the last year, Sabathia, Lee, and Halladay have gone from aces or ace-like potential to much less. Verlander is probably done as the ace that he was…he’ll have to adapt now that his FB is no longer the same. Mileage is really hard on a pitcher’s arm.

        The ironic part about people saying the Phillies should get these prospects is that they are treating them as highly valuable too…they just wish the Cubs valued them less so that Philly could speed up its rebuilding time line. It is highly disingenuous to treat something as highly valuable while saying it is being over valued.

      • awh01 - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        Actually, you have it backwards paper. It’s because they are still only prospects that the haul for a top 10 MLB pitcher – who costs FAR LESS than anyone you can sign as an FA right now – ought to be higher.

        As I mentioned in another response, Hamels contract is a POSITIVE, not a negative.

        His contract allows a team to go spend elsewhere, an opportunity they won’t have if they sign Lester or Scherzer.

        We’re not talking Verlander or Kershaw’s contract here, and that is a BIG difference in both length and dollars.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        The amount of surplus value for a guy like Bryant or Russell is likely to be far greater than for Hamels due to Hamels age and salary…he has to be very good to worth his contract. Bryant doesn’t have to be very good next year to be worth a lot more than his contract….but all of that is irrelevant. Talent is the limiting resource no matter what dollar amount you put on it. The Cubs have 100s of millions of dollars to spend to acquire talent. If you can use that money to acquire talent, then you do so. Using talent to acquire talent should always be plan B or C.

      • Bob Loblaw - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        paper, I think it is patently unfair to compare the injuries to CC, Lee and Doc to Hamels, considering he is signed to a contract that ends before he hits any of their ages. He’s 30 now and a year younger than Verlander. And he’s also, once again, signed for only 4 more years, whereas Verlander has 5 years and $140 million left on his contract. Again…Hamels has 4 years and 90 million left. Verlander has one more year and $50 million more.

        Hamels is a BARGAIN and would be far more of a bargain for anybody looking for an ace this offseason. Lester is same age as Hamels and next year when he is free agent, Price will be only 1 year younger. Neither of those guys is better than Hamels. I think, if the Cubs feel as though they can contend next year or even 2 years from now, trading for Hamels is simply a no-brainer. It isn’t a franchise crippling contract the way signing Lester to 6 or 7 years would be. THAT’S the contract CC, Lee and Verlander got.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 8, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        I think it’s “possible.” If there’s a meeting of the minds on prospects on the one side, and partial contract eating on the other? If the Cubs get RAJ to eat even 1/3, they’re in good shape.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 8, 2014 at 3:07 PM

        I honestly think the chance of a deal is 0%.

        There is no way these two sides value assets in a way to facilitate a deal because Philly values what they will be asking for less than the Cubs value what they’ll be asked to give up.

  4. andreweac - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:29 AM

    RAJ should hire Baghdad Bob as his spokesperson. Hilarious RAJ thinks Hamels’ + his guaranteed money is worth Addison Russell.

    Besides, aren’t the Phillies the favorites to win the 2015 World Series? Why would RAJ be selling?!?!

    • illadelphiasphinest - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:16 AM

      Wait, when was the last time the Cubs won the World Series?????

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 8, 2014 at 3:01 AM

        Phinest, the Cubs won the WS in ’08, so that’s only 6 years ago. What? Really? Wow, that really is a long time.

    • illadelphiasphinest - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:30 AM

      The remaining money left on Cole’s deal is below market value for an ace. Hamels controlled through 2018 plus option for 2019 for 100MM……. Lester, and Scherzer will both sign for 100MM+, Scherzer already rejected 140MM….. Not to mention he is by far superior then Samardija who will want over 100MM and Hammel who netted Russell. So it will take some combo of Russell, Bryant, and Solar.

      • longfootlefty - Aug 8, 2014 at 3:34 AM

        The Phillies could eat Hamels’ entire contract and he still wouldn’t be worth 2 top-10 prospects and another in the top-50 on top of that (who happens to already be under contract until 2020 for a total of $30M).

        You are so far beyond delusional that there’s not even a word for it.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:48 AM

        Doesn’t really matter if Hamels is a good deal compared to FAs because the Cubs have a LOT of money to spend. Their limiting resource is not dollars, but talent…there is no reason to exchange a highly limiting resource for talent when you can use a much more abundant resource to get the same thing.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:28 PM


        i understand, get and appreciate your point.

        there is always an equilibrium though.

      • awh01 - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        longfootlefty, seriously. You must be joking.

    • awh01 - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      Here’s where your analysis falls apart.

      Hamels is one of the best 10 pitchers in MLB. In the last 5 years he has the 6th lowest ERA among qualifying pitchers.

      To get a pitcher of his caliber on the FA market is going to cost a lot more in money and years.

      MLBTR is speculating that Lester could get 7/150, and we know that Scherzer has already turned down 140MM.

      You post about Hamels’ guaranteed money as though it’s a negative, when in fact it’s a positive, because to sign the other two guys (or Price the following year) it will probably cot at least $60MM more than Hamels is guaranteed.

      In other words – Hamels SAVES you money – money that can be spent elsewhere to improve the roster – you know, to sign guys like Soler on the international market, or another FA to fill a need. Or, it allows you to trade for another proven MLB player at some point because you have the room under the lux tax.

      Addison Russell? Please. He hasn’t taken a plate appearance at the MLB level and you talk like he’s an All Star.

      There have been a number of highly touted prospects who raked in the minors who either flamed out or struggled when they got to MLB. Alex Gordon, anyone? It took him until his 5th year to figure it out. what evidence do you have that Russell won’t do exactly the same thing, or worse, flame out like a lot of guys?

  5. mungman69 - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:15 AM

    The Cubs have all of these prospects yet will they ever contend with these guys.

    The last time that the Cubs won Wrigley hadn’t even invented chewing gum yet.

    • chiadam - Aug 8, 2014 at 6:24 AM

      Because chewing gum has been around for thousands of years. Ancient Aztecs chewed gum. Wrigley did not invent it.

    • Paper Lions - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:49 AM

      What the Cubs have done for the last 100 years is completely irrelevant. Based on that logic, we should have expected the Phillies to always be horrible. The guys running the Cubs have been responsible for none of the Cubs historical futility.

      • 84cubs - Aug 8, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        Paper I’m so glad you pointed that out. Im so sick and tired of the current ownership/fo being linked to the past regimes. In the local blogs those who make such comments are usually White Sox fans.

  6. edavidberg - Aug 8, 2014 at 2:10 AM

    The Cubs elite prospects would not be moved for Hamels. I could see Castro or Almora but Baez/Bryant/Russell/Soler are not being moved for Hamels. They’d only be moved for a pitcher with years of cheap team control.

  7. mungman69 - Aug 8, 2014 at 5:46 AM

    Hamels is a damn fine pitcher. He could help a team ready to win now but I don’t see the Cubs winning now.

  8. mungman69 - Aug 8, 2014 at 5:55 AM

    Well said 3081, you know what you have in Hamels and even though these prospects are ranked very high no one knows which prospects will “make it” and which ones won’t.
    The question that I have is when (if) these prospects are ready to star then what will Hamels have left.

  9. stew48 - Aug 8, 2014 at 6:52 AM

    As a Cub fan since 1943, I am going to rely on our #1 man, not these comments, however accurate they may be. I see the Cubs in the driver’s seat on this, and they don’t have to give away the franchise either.

  10. greymares - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    I always find it amusing when an ACE is being talked about being traded for prospects. The reason why they are prospects is because they have not done nothing yet.

    • Paper Lions - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:53 AM

      I find it amusing when people think depreciating assets are worth their contract and more. I hope you never complain about Amaro’s moves, because that statement is exactly the philosophy that has led to the current situation in Philly.

      Player value is based on what they have done, but on what they are expected to do.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:37 AM

        Dangit. Should say “Player value isn’t based on what they have done, but on what they are expect to do.”

      • greymares - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:43 AM

        We’ll now that you mention it. As a 60+ yr Phillies fan you will not find any post of mine bashing Amaro, his moves or decisions because actually I’m just a fan. I don’t have access or am I privy to any decision making info. Also not a season ticket holder I live 85 mi. Away but I take in about 15 games a year and have never booed anybody in my life. This may not be fair after last night but everybody has ranted about the contract and lack of production on Howard but he is 4th in R.B.I. In the national league. So what do fans actually know.

      • awh01 - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:17 AM

        All true, but can you say with any certainty what the “player value” of those prospects are?

        The honest answer is that you cannot, despite their high rankings or what scouts “project”.

        From your posts you look fairly well schooled in the game and the evaluation of prospects, so you probably know what percentage of top 50 and top 100 prospects actually make the show – and contribute at the level that their prospect status projects.

        Note: It’s not 100%.

        Just take a look at one of the Phillies players – Dom Brown. He was picked as the top prospect in baseball a short while ago. Has he lived up to that status? Well, he’s not alone.

        I think 3081’s post above is the best on the thread, because he recognizes that in today’s management thought process that prospects are overvalued.

        As a Phillies fan I hope that they don’t trade Hamels, because I don’t think there is anything the Cubs have to offer that will provide as much WAR going forward as Hamels will. I understand that that is my opinion, but Hamels is a proven top 10 (top 6 actually) pitcher in MLB, and prospects are exactly that because they have not proven themselves – despite the rosy projections and expectations of management and fans.

        So let the Cubs go out and spend the money on Scherzer or Lester (I don’t thin they’ll bring back the Shark because they’d have kept him if he’d agree to sign for what they’re willing to pay). Those guys will get paid because there are teams out there that have money – and, yes, lots of teams have money.

        I’ll wager the contracts those guys get don’t look real good by the time the Cubs are ready to contend again.

      • stupidusername - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:47 AM

        Are you expecting Hamels to fall off a cliff?? I think I have a pretty good idea of what Hamels will be for at least the next 2 or 3 years. He’ll be good enough to be an ace on a staff. A prospect, you’re saying his value is based on what he’s expected to do. We expected Dom Brown to be a good OF, but he’s the worst player in baseball this year. And you can’t say it was only Philadelphia and Amaro that thought he would be a good player. There’s guessing, or hope, in what a prospect will be. You can’t say one guy has so much more value solely based on hopes and dreams and the other guy with proven success in the majors doesn’t have as much value. I find it amusing everyone thinks their team’s top prospects will all turn into all-stars.

        If everyone shared this sentiment then no trades would ever happen. Addison Russell and Billy McKinney (their 2013 first round pick) were just traded for proven major league talent. Would you criticize Beane for devaluing his prospects to acquire a veteran?

      • Uncle Charlie - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:58 AM

        4th in RBI!?!? Give him another cool $100mil RAJ!

  11. bleedgreen - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    The Cubs need to trade for people because not a lot of free agents WANT to goto Chicago. Why go there when there are many ‘better’ clubs you could goto and win? The Dodgers would pay. The Yankees would pay, Angels, Rangers, heck… even the Mets would pay.

    • awh01 - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      Exactly, and actually, the word is “overpay”.

      That’s what the Cubs – or any team – will have to do with FA’s, precisely because MLB is awash with new revenue sources.

    • stupidusername - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      The Cubs have something like only $30M committed to team salary in 2015. Free agents will want to go there is that’s who’s offering the most money.

      • 84cubs - Aug 8, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        bleedgreen, Have you ever heard of the ’85 Bears? Of course you have. They are the ONLY Bears SuperBowl Champions. Do you realize how many ballplayers have signed with the Cubs at the times they were in contention just for a CHANCE to be on that first team that finally does it in ANYONES lifetime? They will be immortalized FOREVER here in Chicago. That ’85 Bears team has parlayed that one championship into, commercial deals, radio shows, public appearances, endorsements and etc. So when you use such as an absolute term as “NO free agents” that is totally inaccurate.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        I’ve thought and still think that is the ONLY reason Theo came to the Cubs.

        Be it right or wrong, if the Cubs win a World Series, Theo will be a god in Chicago.

        He’s still young, educated, rich and has already been successful. Ended one LONG time drought of 80 plus yrs with the Red Sox.

        And he came to Chicago to add notches to his work belt for just the reasons you listed sir.

  12. andreweac - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    Paper value is only determined by RBIs, pitcher wins, saves and stuff like grit that numbers can’t quantify. Duh…

  13. wilmyers09 - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    illadelphiasphinest ur an idiot that is way too much

  14. icanspeel - Aug 8, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Add this to the debate

  15. psousa1 - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Boston seems like a team that would be hot for Hamels and Epstein knows this. I think he would pick him up and hope to spin him off to Boston in the off season. Boston has 3 top pitching propects – Barnes, Owens and Renaudo, 2 top catching prosepects – Vasquez and Swihart and the kid Betts who is playing 2B and CF who is hitting a combined .340 something between AA and AAA and he is a great base stealer.

    Epstein had his hand in drafting some of these players and knows who they are and their makeup so it wouldn’t surprise me if this was the impetus for acquiring Hamels. The remaining years and $ left on Hamels deal is more palatable for Boston than what they would have pay for re-signing Lester or signing Scherzer

  16. phillysports1 - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    Just give us Bryant & Soler.Throw in Junior Lake, too. Upgrade over Brown in LF…

  17. deepstblu - Aug 8, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    Funny how nobody mentions Mike Olt, the absolute must-get prospect for so many Phillies fans just a couple years ago.

  18. phillysports1 - Aug 8, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Mike Olt is a total bust.

  19. freddsox - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    I think the Philly offer is Hamels for Bryant or Hamels, Lee and Howard for some goat or something. Sorry Ruben, unless you can get the Dodgers to go to 350 mil on payroll I can’t see anyone bailing you out on your shyt contracts

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (2685)
  2. C. Correa (2632)
  3. H. Ramirez (2621)
  4. G. Springer (2610)
  5. B. Crawford (2402)
  1. M. Teixeira (2391)
  2. H. Pence (2335)
  3. J. Baez (2315)
  4. J. Hamilton (2239)
  5. Y. Puig (2217)