Cubs unlikely to swing waiver deal with Phillies for Cole Hamels
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter August 7, 2014 10:26PM
Updated: September 9, 2014 6:29AM
DENVER — The Cubs appeared far more likely to make their ace pitching splash in the free-agent market sometime over the next two winters than swing a waiver trade for Cole Hamels, despite being granted a waiver claim on the Phillies’ left-hander this week, according to sources.
In fact, the Cubs likely made a deal impossible in making the claim, because it assured the Phillies would have only a one-team market to shop the three-time All-Star with more than $100 million and four-plus years left on his contract.
A major-league source said the Phillies sought one of the Cubs’ touted young shortstops in any package for Hamels, which would almost certainly mean recently acquired Addison Russell. Starlin Castro and Javy Baez would be subject to waivers and nearly impossible to include in a deal.
The Cubs have projected payroll flexibility to handle a Hamels-like contract and depth of attractive prospects to deal — but no desire to spend volumes of both on one player.
Hamels, who turns 31 in December, is guaranteed $22.5 million each of the next four seasons, with a multilevel option for 2019 ($24 million if it vests at performance and health thresholds).
During the July non-waiver period, the Phillies were considered one of the most “unrealistic” teams to deal with, despite making several veteran players available to would-be contenders, said one executive from outside the Cubs organization.
“That’s why Philly still has all their guys,” the executive said late last week.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo got his first day off since May, a planned “breather.”
◆ The Cubs closed out their third consecutive series victory Thursday (second in a week against Colorado), going 4-2 during the road trip to Los Angeles and Denver. They’ve won seven of their last 10.
◆ Thursday’s winning pitcher, rookie Kyle Hendricks (3-1), pitched a career-high eight innings and has allowed just four earned runs in his last 28 1/3 innings (1.27 ERA).