If you were in any way surprised at the Phillies shopping Jonathan Papelbon and Dominic Brown for trades, get a load of this. The Phillies have now made both Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee available, discussing them at the Winter Meetings as they show signs of a possible rebuild. After Roy Halladay retired, the Phillies may be ready to break up their rotation.
Here's the original report from Buster Olney on Twitter: "The Phillies have indicated to other teams they are ready and willing to talk about Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in trades."
If any of these rumors become serious it could signal a major shift in the Phillies' future plans. This offseason they signed Marlon Byrd at 36 and brought back Carlos Ruiz who will be 35 on Opening Day. Now they want to trade their best players?
Hamels and Lee were the Phillies' two best starting pitchers in an otherwise disappointing 2013 season. Hamels started slow, but finished with a 3.60 ERA despite an 8-14 record. Lee was brilliant with a 14-8 record, 2.87 ERA and 222 strikeouts in 222 2/3 innings. He was an All-Star and finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting.
Both players are set to make at least $22.5 million in 2014 and Hamels is signed through 2018. Money is a significant factor and the Phillies would probably expect a nice haul in return for either of them. They are probably just doing their due diligence to make sure they don't miss an offer they can't refuse.
It is hard to tell how likely any of these moves are, but the fact the Phillies are listening shows they are capable of anything this winter. The Phillies we see next season could look a lot different than the team we've come to know over the years.
- Chase Hughes, CSN Washington
- Sports & Recreation
- Cole Hamels
- Cliff Lee