The Rangers have agreed to acquire left-hander Cole Hamels from the Phillies in an eight-player deal, as first reported by T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Philadelphia is expected to receive left-hander Matt Harrison and prospects Jake Thompson, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Jerad Eickhoff and Alex Asher in exchange for Hamels, Jake Diekman and cash considerations, according to multiple reports. Philadelphia is sending $9.5 million to the Rangers and paying the remainder of Matt Harrison's contract, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.
Hamels has been the main target of the Rangers for months, with the Astros, Giants, Dodgers and Red Sox also showing interest in the Phillies' ace. Texas has emerged as a favorite due to their focus being on adding controllable pitching on the trade market instead of looking for a rental option, and appear primed to add Hamels to a rotation that will be headlined by injured right-hander Yu Darvish.
Hamels will be under team control for the next three-and-a-half seasons, making him attractive to a Rangers' team that will be stronger next season with the development of young players and the return of Darvish. The 31-year old threw a no-hitter in his last appearance with the Phillies over the weekend and has been the most discussed trade candidate since Johnny Cueto was dealt to the Royals on Sunday.
Hamels, a three-time All-Star, will pitch outside of Philadelphia for the first time in his ten-year major-league career after posting a 3.30 ERA in 295 appearances (294 starts) with the club. The highlight of his career came in 2008, when he led the Phillies to their first World Series championship since 1980.
Diekman, 28, will provide reinforcements for the Rangers' bullpen, furthering a shifting in the Phillies' bullpen mix that began its transformation with a trade of Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals on Tuesday. The right-hander has posted a 5.15 ERA in 41 appearances for Philadelphia this season, but has been been solid in the past for the Phillies.
Harrison, 29, has been with the Rangers for eight seasons, and has posted a 6.75 ERA in three starts with the Rangers this season. The veteran is under team control through the 2018 season as a result of a club option for that season, and will provide a veteran rotation piece for the Phillies in the near future.
Thompson, 21, was originally acquired by the Rangers in a deadline deal last year for Joakim Soria. The right-hander is currently ranked as the Rangers' fourth-best prospect and the 60th-best prospect in all of baseball, and is regarded for his excellent starter and ability to be a starter in the majors. He is 6-6 with a 4.72 ERA in seventeen starts with Double-A Frisco this year.
Williams, 21, is the Rangers' fifth-best prospect and was a second-round pick in 2012. The outfielder was listed as the 64th-best prospect in all of baseball at the time of the trade, and is touted for his hitting abilities and solid speed. Williams has hit .300/.357/.480 with thirteen home runs in 96 games for Double-A Frisco so far this season.
Alfaro, a 22-year old catcher, is the Rangers' sixth-best prospect, according to MLB.com. He is expected to miss the rest of the year but is highly regarded for his raw power and pure arm strength, and seems like a strong candidate to be the heir to Carlos Ruiz in Philadelphia.
Eickhoff, 25, is the seventeenth-ranked prospect in the Rangers' system, and was the team's fifteenth-round pick in the 2011 draft. He projects as a number-three starter in the majors, though is a late bloomer as a 25-year old at Triple-A.
Asher, 23, is the team's 29th-ranked prospect, and was their fourth round prospect in 2012. He has posted a 4.73 ERA in twelve starts with Triple-A Round Rock this season and is regarded for his strong control and command.