So the Cubs apparently put in a claim for Cole Hamels. What does this mean? Could Hamels be the Cubs version of Jayson Werth?
There is still not a ton of information out there. However, we do know a little bit right now.
The Cubs put in the claim on Hamels with the intent of acquiring him. There does not seem to be another motive, such as blocking another team within their division from landing him.
We have all suspected the Cubs would make a move for a top-of-the-rotation arm at some point soon, most likely in the off-season. Much of that speculation has been focused on acquiring a free agent ace such as Jon Lester.
The downside of making a deal with Philadelphia for Hamels is that they would likely require a steep cost in return, including, but not limited to, Addison Russell, the very talented shortstop the Cubs just acquired for Jeff Samardzija.
On the flipside, you get Hamels at roughly a 5 years, $100 million price tag. That seems to be fairly reasonable compared to what the Cubs would pay for an ace on the open market. If you are worried about committing that type of dough for a 30-year-old pitcher, just know that is the price of top arms. Also, keep in mind that lefties last longer.
Will the Cubs turn around and deal Russell for Hamels only a month after acquiring the SS? That is not likely. I think it would take a package of Cubs prospects outside of the top five and a desire from Philadelphia's standpoint to get out from under the big contract for this to work. I can't see Phillies GM Ruben Amaro giving up his best trading chip without restocking his barren system.
At the end of the day, this is another positive signal the Cubs are open for big-market business once again.
Many parallels have been drawn between the Cubs and the Washington Nationals when it comes to the blueprint of tanking consecutive MLB seasons in order to get high draft picks to build a young juggernaut.
When it came time for the Nationals to make a bit of a move, they overpaid and landed Werth off the free-agent market. It was a move that raised many eyebrows at the time. Yet, at the end of the day, the Cubs will likely have to make a similar type of move sooner or later.
Could this be a case of sooner?
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