Philadelphia Phillies' left-hander Cole Hamels is drawing quite a bit of interest in the trade market from a list of clubs that includes the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Per USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Los Angeles Dodgers are also in the mix for Hamels, who seems to be the clear back-up option to a number of clubs in pursuit of free agent Jon Lester (namely Boston and Chicago).
After today's duo of monstrous moves, the Red Sox are in dire need of an arm to anchor their currently thin rotation. Lester appears to be their primary target, but there are conflicting reports regarding whether or not the Red Sox are financially capable of giving him what he wants after handing out approximately $188 million today.
Of course, adding Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval does give the Red Sox quite a bit of wiggle room when it comes to trade chips. Though highly unlikely, shortstop Xander Bogaerts could be available in trade for an elite pitcher (though Hamels' contract may disqualify him from that title in asset terms). The club could also build a generous package around Mookie Betts and the franchise's numerous young arms. Highly regarded catching prospect Blake Swihart could also be available in trade, though he seems to be the future behind the plate in Boston.
According to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, Hamels has stated that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to Boston if the Red Sox guaranteed his $20 million option for 2019. Nightengale also reports that the Red Sox have had "the most serious talks with the Phillies" so far.
The Cubs are also in the Lester race, and may make a run at Max Scherzer as well. Of course, if they decide to pursue Hamels, they have a bounty of prospects to offer up, with what many regard as one of the best farm systems in the game. The club could explore dealing from its plethora of young infielders such as Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez, and Starlin Castro.
Much like the Cubs, the Dodgers seem to have the perfect combination of financial freedom and prospects to deal. Already armed with Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, Hamels would undoubtedly give the Dodgers one of the most talented top-fours in recent memory. With Ramirez leaving a vacancy at the shortstop position, Los Angeles may no longer be as inclined to deal top prospect Corey Seager, but they could look at outfielder Joc Pederson and southpaw Julio Urias as potential package headliners.
The 30-year-old Hamels is owed $90 million over the next four seasons ($110 million if his 2019 option is picked up), but that contract is actually quite friendly considering Hamels' performance. Over the past five seasons, Hamels has a 3.00 ERA, 129 ERA+, 3.27 FIP, 3.84 K/BB, and 27.9 WAR. He posted a 2.46 ERA (151 ERA+) and 6.6 WAR in 204.2 innings this past season.