Texas Rangers: The Cole Hamels Deal
- Updated: August 15, 2015
The Texas Rangers certainly aren’t strangers to making splash deals for top of the line starting pitching. Back in the summer of 2010, Cliff Lee, among the best pitchers in the MLB at the time, was dealt to the Texas Rangers in exchange for a number of prospects. While Lee performed well for the Rangers for the remainder of the 2010 season, he was a free agent at the completion of the season and ultimately decided to take his talents to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Ironically, the Rangers struck another deadline deal this summer, acquiring another left-handed pitcher at the top of his game in former Phillies ace Cole Hamels. Luckily, this deal won’t result in just a brief three-month stay in Arlington, as Hamels is signed through the 2018 season.
The 31-year-old is having another fantastic season and despite struggling in his Rangers debut, boasts a 3.76 ERA to go along with 146 strikeouts in just 136 1/3 innings pitched.
While the Rangers certainly went for the safer option this time in Hamels, one has to wonder why the team made the move now. Was is worth giving up what they did in order to grab a guy in the latter half of his career?
Only time will officially be able to determine that, but it’s difficult to see a situation in which it doesn’t work out for Texas. The Rangers nabbed one of the best arms in the game, a left-hander at that, without parting ways with their top two minor league prospects. While they did give up some solid talent, the recoup of that in a player like Hamels more than makes up for the potential loss. Hamels is a proven All-Star, one that has done it on the biggest stage as the 2008 World Series MVP.
Hamels’ career has certainly enjoyed more ups than downs, with his worst season coming when he was 25 and amassed a 4.32 ERA in 193 2/3 innings pitched. He has compiled ERAs under four in all other full seasons pitched, and it’s that consistency the Rangers are banking on. The lifelong Phillie also saw Texas as an ideal landing situation, which only adds to the legitimacy of this deal.
At the time of the trade, the Rangers sat just a few games out of both the AL West Division lead, as well as the AL Wild Card. With two Wild Card teams getting in, it certainly makes it more reasonable to think the Rangers could sneak their way in this year. But in all reality, this move was made for the future. With three more years on Hamels’ deal, Texas is investing in their future, a future they otherwise might have lost when Cliff Lee decided to up and leave town after a simple rental.
A future starting rotation that is topped with both Hamels and a returning Yu Darvish will be formidable for years to come, so even if you don’t see the deal pay off this year, patience will certainly win out in this case.