Report: Yankees among likely landing spots for Texas Rangers LHP Cole Hamels
Cole Hamels, the 34-year-old Texas Rangers lefty, is one of the high-profile players expected to be dealt now that the Rangers are "open for business," per a recent Ken Rosenthal report in The Athletic.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the five likeliest landing spots for the veteran lefty are the Brewers, Cubs, Phillies, Diamondbacks and Yankees.
Hamels is owed the remainder of his $22.5 million salary for 2018, and is under contract for one more season at $20 million, with a $6 million buyout for 2019.
The Rangers enter Friday with a 17-28 record, good for last place in the AL West and tied for the fourth-worst record in baseball. On the other end of the spectrum, the Yankees enter their three-game weekend series in Kansas City tied for the best record in MLB at 28-12, with two games up in the loss column on the second-place Red Sox.
After dealing with a multitude of injuries from the start of the 2018 season, Yankees starters have largely bounced back over the last several weeks, however factors such as CC Sabathia's age, Masahiro Tanaka's partially torn elbow ligament, Sonny Gray's inconsistency and Jordan Montgomery's elbow strain could spell a desire to fortify the rotation with another proven arm.
Hamels, himself now dealing with a minor bout of neck stiffness, would provide an established left-handed option in the starting staff for a team with World Series expectations, and the Rangers appear more ready than ever to part ways with some of their coveted assets.
The Yankees have the financial flexibility and abundance of prospect talent to swing a deal for an impact arm like Hamels, who owns a career 3.48 ERA in the postseason. This is also not the first time the Yankees have expressed interest in Hamels, so they've done their due diligence in keeping an eye on Hamels over the years.
This season, Hamels has gone 2-4 in nine starts for the Rangers, posting an identical 3.48 ERA to his postseason career mark. Hamels was an All-Star as recently as 2016, when he finished the year 15-5 with a 3.32 ERA, and eclipsed 200 innings for the eighth time in his 13-year MLB career.
Hamels' 9.9 K/9 rate this season is the best mark he's posted since his rookie season in 2006, although he has walked batters at a higher rate than usual (3.7 BB/9) over the small nine-game sample size this year.
Yankees fans may remember Hamels from their 2009 World Series run against the Phillies, when Hamels allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings on Halloween Night against New York, in the third game of the Bombers' eventual 27th championship run.
It's only a matter of time before the Rangers begin their 2018 sell-off, and Hamels is almost assuredly not going to finish up his 2018 season in Texas, so the Yankees could very well be in play if interested.
Stay tuned to YES for more news and developments as the Yankees head to Kansas City this weekend looking to stay on top of the MLB standings. Following that series, they'll be headed to Arlington to battle Hamels' Rangers in a three-game set before returning home to the Bronx.