We are well aware that the Boston Red Sox are interested in Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, and now that they have stocked up on offense they are turning to defense next. But, the Red Sox may have competition for Hamels' services. This time it's a team on the West Coast.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale, who reported on the Red Sox interest earlier today, says that the Los Angeles Dodgers are now interested in Hamels:
The question surrounding the Dodgers is who they would be willing to trade.
The Dodgers have three premier prospects. The first is Joc Pederson. However, the Dodgers are trying to clear excess outfielders in order to make room for him in the starting lineup. With Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Carl Craword all tying up space on the roster and with Yasiel Puig most deserving playing time, space is tight for Pederson. However, the Dodgers have been committed to moving one or more of these high-priced outfielders to make room for Pederson, not the opposite.
Corey Seager is the brother of new $100 million man Kyle Seager of the Seattle Mariners. Corey Seager is 20 years old and is a shortstop. The Dodgers do not appear willing to trade Seager, either. The Dodgers let incumbent shortstop Hanley Ramirez sign with the Boston Red Sox, and the job could be Seager's in 2015. Should Seager not be ready just yet, Dee Gordon could hold down shortstop temporarily. But the Dodgers seem committed to Seager.
Number three on the list is pitcher Julio Urias. Pitching in low Class A for the Rancho Cucamunga Quakes, Urias did not turn 18 years old until August. Despite being such a young age, some project Urias to make his major league debut sooner or later. The Dodgers were not willing to include Urias in a deal last season for a starter, even though it meant falling short in 2014. New President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman seems intent on rebuilding while staying competitive, something he excelled in doing in Tampa Bay.
With the Dodgers' top three prospects off of the board, would they have enough to give the Phillies for Hamels?
The Dodgers top ranked prospects from four to seven on MLB.com's Prospect watch includes four pitchers: righties Grant Holmes, Chris Anderson, and Zach Lee, followed by lefties Tom Windle and Chris Reed. Holmes, Anderson, Lee, and Reed were all first round picks, while Windle was a second round pick. Lee once was untouchable, but could be had. But, having gone 7-13 with a 5.38 ERA last season in AAA cannot help.
In terms of position player prospects in the top 10 not the top two named above, only Scott Schebler and Alex Verdugo remain. Both are left-handed hitting outfielders. Schebler was a 26th-round pick who spent 2014 with the AA Chattanooga Lookouts and batted .280, while showing some pop; Schebler hit 28 home runs and drove in 73 runs. Verdugo was a second round pick in 2014. He hit .353 in his first exposure to professional ball, but the sample size is small.
Simply put, the Dodgers might not have enough to get a deal done if they are not willing to trade one of their top three prospects. While Nightengale says "and others" are interested in Hamels, he was not able to name their price. This could be a ploy to bring up the price from the Boston Red Sox on Hamels, since their interest is clear.