Red Sox Could Get Hamels For Deal Involving Manuel Margot
It may not cost the moon, any longer, for the Boston Red Sox to one day see pitcher Cole Hamels dunked in celebration in a Red Sox uniform. Reports from yesterday have the price tag provided by the Philadelphia Phillies much lower, subjectively, than once thought. These reports, coming on the same day that Hamels throws a complete no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs, could be the sign that the celebration was the last that he will have in a Phillies uniform.
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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports claimed that while there are four teams in the running for Hamels’ services, the asking price may have come back down to Earth. The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Texas Rangers, the Cubs, and the Red Sox have been speaking to the Phillies’ executives on the matter, with trade suitors not having to give up their prized youth: “One person suggested, for instance, they are continuing to talk to the Dodgers and Red Sox while no longer insisting on Seager or Urias from LA, or Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart from Boston.” A sign of desperation on the Phillies’ part?
Possibly, but let’s reserve judgement for the latest rumors.
Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald tweeted an interesting alternative:
Depending on your view of prospects involved in trades, this interest is not exactly desperation as much as a shift in priorities.
Margot is ranked as Boston’s fourth best prospect, behind Yoan Moncada, Henry Owens, and Raphael Devers. It’s worth noting that Margot is the only outfielder on that list. Margot is 79th on MLB’s Top 100 prospect list, while Nomar Mazara, in the Rangers’ minor system, is ranked 42nd and is the only other pure outfielder above Margot from teams listed as having interest in Hamels.
Why Margot and not Mazara? At first glance, the two 20-year-old players couldn’t look any more different. Margot is 5-foot-11 and 170 lbs, who hits and throws right-handed. Maraza is 6-foot-4, 195 lbs of lanky skin and bone, who hits and throws left-handed.
However, when looking at offensive production, the two are both pretty effective for their respective clubs. Margot is hitting a slash line of .263/.315/.381 with a home run, 16 RBIs, and has eight stolen bases in 29 games for Boston’s Double-A affiliate the Portland Sea Dogs. He moved up quickly after just 46 games for the Class-A (Advanced) Salem Red Sox, where he stole 20 bases this season. Mazara has played 91 games for the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate the Frisco RoughRiders and he’s hit .287/.358/.450 with 12 homers and 50 RBIs and stolen one base.
Defensively, Mazara has made seven errors for a .958 fielding percentage, while Margot has made three, all in Salem, for a combined percentage of .985. MLB scouts observing Mazara have said, “Though he’s a below-average runner, Mazara gets good jumps and projects as an average defender in right field. He has the plus arm strength desired at the position and has totaled 25 assists in his two full seasons.” Margot, on the other hand, has had the opposite said for him: “Margot’s speed plays well on the bases and in the outfield. He covers a lot of ground in center field and has average arm strength, which is better than most players at his position. He has shown more polish and advanced quicker than expected.”
Jul 18, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Ben Revere (2) gets high fives from teammates at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
If all factors are taken into account, it makes sense that Margot would be the player the Phillies could settle for in a packaged deal. At present, the Phillies outfield is a combination of six players starting many of their games, instead of a stable set of three. They have lefty bats of Ben Revere, Odubel Herrera, Cody Asche, and Dominic Brown hitting .302, .272, .247, and .229 respectively. Jeff Francoeur is the only righty bat and he’s hitting .265. This entire group has combined for 19 home runs and 109 RBIs. To put that production into perspective, the Red Sox have two outfielders in double digits for home runs and RBIs: left fielder Hanley Ramirez (19 HRs, 46 RBIs) and the aforementioned and desired Betts (10 HRs, 46 RBIs). These two men along with Alejandro De Aza (3 HRs, 19 RBIs), who consistently make up the starting outfield lineup, smash the Phillies’ total on their own. Nevermind the log jam of other outfielders who have started for the Red Sox, this season.
The only outfielder to be ranked in the Phillies’ top ten prospect list is Roman Quinn, ranked MLB’s 95th top prospect. A far cry from Margot or Mazara.
The Phillies need outfield help for Revere and, likely, Herrera, as there have been rumblings that Francoeur is on the way out. Francoeur would also be their only righty bat as an outfielder, a position often noted to be where the big hitters in the major leagues tend to play. Right now, that position for the Phillies is looking more like the lightweight division in terms of offensive production, with seemingly little help coming from their farm system.
Jul 20, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino (18) at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
If Margot is the chosen one for Philly, it would still be hard-pressed to see a top prospect going one-for-one with a veteran pitcher. Especially a former All-Star and clear ace like Hamels. Margot would have to be part of a packaged deal with another prospect or high draft pick and some proven talent. Maybe a return home for outfielder Shane Victorino would help him get over his fear of being traded from Boston. However, Mike Napoli would not likely be on the Philly radar as even first basemen Ryan Howard (.223) and Darin Ruf (.248) are hitting better than his .205 batting average.
There’s immense heat for the Red Sox to not only be successful in 2016, but also to stop losing skids for the rest of 2015. Boston has one victory in the last 10 games, to the agony of everyone in Red Sox Nation who hoped the winning ways before the All-Star Break would continue. Adding Hamels would do much to cool tempers, at least for now. Regardless of whether the Red Sox execs want to pay Hamels his huge contract in future seasons, they will need to make some moves if they wish to keep their faithful fans from crying out for mutiny. Margot may be the key to their salvation, but it will cost them more than just one top prospect.
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