Cole Hamels isn’t going anywhere. Not by the non-waiver trade deadline, not as a free agent after the season, not for six years. Just as reported widely enough the last few days, the Phillies landed the lefthander for a six-year, $144 million contract extension which includes a 2019 vesting option and a limited no-trade clause.
The deal makes Hamel the proud owner of the second-most lucrative deal for a pitcher in the Show, just ahead of Johan Santana (Mets) and behind CC Sabathia (Yankees). But the bottom line really came down to Hamels wanting to stay where he knew a fan base loved him and to emulate his boyhood hero, Tony Gwynn, and play his entire career for the same club if he could.
Hanley Ramirez, on the other hand, has gone somewhere. Specifically, to the Dodgers, who acquired the Marlins’ testy infielder (along with pitcher Randy Choate) for rookie pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and minor league reliever Scott McGough. The Hanley-Being-Manny talk has begun in earnest, comparing a pair of outsize talents brought to Los Angeles in spite of their clubhouse-poison reputations. For the Dodgers, this deal might be worth it if a) Ramirez can regroup himself and provide a key bat and field presence down the stretch, and b) the agreeable atmosphere developed by manager Don Mattingly has an effect on him other than helping him revamp and re-enhance his hitting.
For the Marlins, whose apparent fire sale is less like their notorious past ones and more a straight-up rebuild (though with their owner you kind of have to assume there’s a worst in there, somewhere), they must be hoping Eovaldi becomes the number-three starter most see his potential as being. They must also be hoping McGough has more potential than a classic heat-and-slider reliever who can strike out the world when he’s not walking it. In Choate, the Dodgers get a classic lefthander-to-lefthander reliever who can shut down portside hitting but is at the mercy of righthanded hitters.
MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE JUNGLE . . .
BROKEN-ROD—Alex Rodriguez will be lost a month or two after he suffered a broken hand from a Felix Rodriguez pitch Tuesday night. King Felix lost his customary control and caught A-Rod at a time when his bat was continuing to re-heat. The Yankees—who’ve survived critical injuries to post baseball’s best record at this writing—are said to be looking at several options, including and (possibly) especially San Diego third baseman Chase Headley, who could bring the Padres a small load of solid prospects they can rebuild around while giving the Yankees a secure third base presence if A-Rod is heading more toward designated-hitting soon enough. Headley is locked up in a deal through 2014, and he may find the new Yankee Stadium a nicer hitting fit than the canyon known as Petco Park.
If the Padres don’t want to move Headley, the Yankees could be looking at such third base help as Scott Rolen (Cincinnati, though the Reds may not want to move him while Joey Votto’s on the DL and Rolen still has value for the Reds in the NL Central, but his injury history may cause the Yankees to think twice) or Marco Scutaro (though he’s more a shortstop, he does have third base experience and had a decent season for Boston last year).
SITUATION UPDATE: The Yankees say they have no intention of trading for a stand-in for A-Rod, with Eric Chavez stepping up to fill in.
TAT-MAN TRADED—Designated for assignment Tuesday (making room for John McDonald), a Ray Wednesday. The Diamondbacks traded Ryan “Tat-Man” Roberts—a fan favourite for his hustle, but a bouncer from minors to majors several seasons—to the Rays for minor league second baseman Tyler Bortnick. The deal sends Roberts from one race to another and gives the Rays a solid enough piece in Evan Longoria’s absence. Meanwhile, the Rays designated veteran Hideki Matsui—once a Yankee great (and the 2009 World Series MVP), now a fading star following an excellent career—for assignment to make room for the incoming Roberts.
SAFE AT HOME—The mother of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. is safe after she was found unharmed in her car following an abduction in which a man forced her into the car from her Aberdeen, Maryland home Tuesday morning. Vi Ripken (74) was found early Wednesday morning and gave police a description of her abductor.