The Phillies Want A King’s Ransom for Cole Hamels, Would the Mariners Be Willing To Pay?

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The Seattle Mariners could certainly use another arm for a rotation bi-polar with service time and experience. Three young arms– James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, and Roenis Elias— are expected to fill out the bottom of the rotation behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. But only Elias has logged over 100.0 Major League innings, and all three remain largely unproven.

Rumors have swirled about the Philadelphia Phillies shopping Cole Hamels. Could the Mariners be interested in the southpaw’s services? The answer in a matter-of-fact way would be yes, but the price tag looks steep, not including the $96 million Hamels is owed over the next 4 seasons.

If the Mariners traded with the Phillies for Cole Hamels, they’d have to part ways with a lot of their farm depth. According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:

"Industry sources say the Phils are looking for at least three top prospects, two that can play right now and another that isn’t far away."

What would that look like from the Mariners point of view? If I had to guess, the Phillies would likely want James Paxton/Taijuan Walker, one of the Mariners’ two MLB-experienced shortstops, and D.J. Peterson from the Minor Leagues.

I would hope the Mariners would scoff at such a steep suggestion.

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But really, would the Mariners ever consider making such a blockbuster trade? Don’t forget just last offseason, GM Jack Z orchestrated a trade for Justin Upton— too steep a price in my opinion– that was eventually vetoed by Upton himself, as the M’s were on his no-trade list.

Cole Hamels has a similar no-trade clause, one that he updated this month. If the M’s were on it, there’s a chance he would waive it IF the M’s guaranteed his 2019 team option. But even still, Hamels may want that 2019 season exercised regardless.

If the Mariners looked at a trade for Cole Hamels like a 5-year/$116 million free agent signing, it wouldn’t be the most terrible of deals. But with that many top prospects being shipped across the country, such a price may be too steep.

But if the Mariners really want a 3rd ace-type pitcher (which I don’t necessarily think they do), Hamels would come monetarily cost less than a Jon Lester or Max Scherzer. But would three prospects with years of service time be worth a $40 million reduced rate on another ace?

The M’s are already paying 9-figure salaries to Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano, so a deal for such an ace seems unlikely.

However, if the win-now mentality is in full swing, would such a trade be that crazy? Felix is riding through his prime right now, and Cano is teetering on the precipice of his decline. Sandwiching Hamels between Felix and Hisashi Iwakuma would give the M’s the best 1-2-3 in the MLB. And last season they had one of the best rotations in baseball.

If I could look into the future and know the Mariners would win a championship or two in the next five seasons with Cole Hamels on board, I would seriously consider trading Walker and Chris Taylor and D.J. Peterson for a ring or two. Sure, the Mariners need hitters more than anything else, but bringing a guy like Cole Hamels into the fray would signal to the baseball world the Mariners are for real.

Maybe then they trade Elias for Yoenis Cespedes of the Red Sox and re-sign Chris Young to fill out their rotation.

This all sounds crazy. I see myself typing it and it sounds crazy. But baseball is a funny thing, and crazier things have happened.

Stop and think, would you make those trades to bring a championship to Seattle? If I knew the Mariners would hoist a trophy because if it, I sure as hell would.

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