Take this with an enormous grain of salt or many, many small grains if that is easier to swallow -- but there was a report last night that the Cubs are the team that has claimed Cole Hamels.
My info sez the CUBS put in the waiver claim on Cole Hamels. Would the Phils trade him there now and would Cole accept?
UPDATE: David Kaplan of CSN confirms the Cubs have claimed Hamels.
I commented about this a bunch in the wee hours of the morning on Twitter, so some of you may have heard this already, but this is a huge long shot.
The first issue is that the Cubs are not on Hamels list of teams he can be traded to per his recently signed 7 year/$153M extension.
The second issue is that this is the waiver trade period. In other words, the Cubs have to pass anyone and everyone through waivers if they hope to acquire him. Guys like Starlin Castro, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, and Arismendy Alcantara are not getting through.
The Cubs would essentially have to acquire him through non-rostered players, the best of whom are Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. But the list would also include Albert Almora, Jen-Ho Tseng, CJ Edwards, Dan Vogelbach, Pierce Johnson, and Paul Blackburn.
Is there a package to be made? Considering the Cubs received Russell and Athletics #2 prospect Bill McKinney, it seems rather unlikely. Hamels is better and signed through 2018 with a club option for 2019. The rate is $22.5M per year, not unreasonable in today's climate.
Still, it's a rather large commitment for any team to take on and the Cubs can absorb all that cost with their payroll flexibility. They would have to hope that the Phillies are as interested in getting out of that financial burden as they are in getting prospects.
You almost have to think the Phillies, who are said to be asking for "the world", will ask for both Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. That would be a non-starter for me.
Given the Cubs depth at shortstop, perhaps they can headline a deal with Russell and then deal from depth to create a package of quality and quantity.
I'd be willing to package anyone outside that top 4 in a deal without a problem and my guess is this is what the Cubs are thinking as well. Perhaps that plus the willingness to take on his entire contract will be enough. And perhaps Cole Hamels would even agree to go to an up and coming team like the Cubs.
But don't hold your breath on that.
But take heart in this: If you didn't think the Cubs were going for it before, this should give you a pretty large hint.