An unidentified team claimed Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels off revocable trade waivers on Wednesday, and the teams have a two-day window from the time of the claim to work out a deal. The news, reported by FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, came just before Rosenthal's following tweet, in which he reported that outfielder Marlon Byrd was also claimed, and that reliever Jonathan Papelbon cleared waivers.
Though Hamels has a 2.42 ERA through 20 starts this season, his list of possible destinations is limited by a massive long-term contract. He'll make $22.5 million for each of the four seasons following 2014, on top of the $22.5 million he's owed this season and his $20 million team option or $24 million vesting option for 2019. That means whoever claimed him is likely a team with a lot of cash to burn, which could help us whittle down the list of possible teams.
Hamels' no-trade clause is extensive, and the Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees, Red Sox, Nationals, Angels, Braves, Rangers and Padres are the only nine teams that the left-hander cannot block. However, there's a decent chance that the "unidentified team" in question is also one of the teams on that list.
The Phillies can always pull their players back from waivers, which means there's no guarantee Hamels ends up going elsewhere. They could also wait until after the season to ship Hamels around, at which point their talks wouldn't be limited to just the one team, as Rosenthal notes.
That doesn't apply to Papelbon, who can go anywhere now that he cleared waivers. With his 1.71 ERA and 26 saves, the Phillies closer could be a big difference-maker for contending teams in need of bullpen help, and he's reportedly willing to overlook his limited no-trade clause, though that's apparently only the case if he were to become the team's closer.
Meanwhile, Byrd was the most likely of the trio to be traded before the non-waiver deadline, so it's not much of a surprise that he didn't clear waivers. The Yankees were the team linked most closely to the Phillies outfielder, though the Phillies' reported demand (32nd overall pick in the 2013 draft Aaron Judge) was a bit too steep for that deal to fall through.
Last year, the Phillies were involved in a pair of August deals, sending Michael Young to the Dodgers and John McDonald to the Red Sox. Will they do it again?