Along with two potential relief types, the Phillies actually got quite a decent return for their ace. If Harrison can be even three-quarters of what he was before his back woes, he’ll eat a lot of the innings vacated by Hamels. But those three top 10 prospects along with two potentially useful relievers are what the Phillies are most excited about. This is probably the best return they’ve ever had for one of their best players - as history has shown, their returns on guys like Curt Schilling and Cliff Lee were pretty bad. It seems this time that the Phils did okay, and the Rangers get a guy to pair with Yu Darvish next season without losing any of their top prospects outside of Alfaro.
The question is did the Rangers need Cole Hamels. Clearly, they had the best offer and the Phillies were right to take it. But the Rangers have some issues. Shin-Soo Choo has been horrible. Shortstop Elvis Andrus is making $20 million a year to be replacement level. Adrian Beltre is finally on the decline. Colby Lewis and Yovani Gallardo have been their best pitchers, and they’re both free agents after the season. There’s not much to look forward to here at all.
The good? Prince Fielder, at least, has been OK in a solid rebound season. Mitch Moreland has had a breakout offensive year. Catcher Robinson Chirinos has been better than expected. Roughned Odor is fine at second base. Delino DeShields Jr. is a useful role player. This isn’t much of a core to build around, though.
Then again, the Rangers hardly mortgaged their future. Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara are their best offensive prospects. Jurickson Profar may still actually play major league baseball again. There are some other interesting guys on the farm. But a lot has to go right in a hurry, and it’s not like the Rangers are in a position to go buy some free agents.
The Rangers are also in a very good division. The Mariners have underperformed this year. The Angels are solid. The Astros are probably only going to get better. The A’s are way better than their record suggests. Hamels is great, and probably adds 3 or 4 wins to this team a season. They can certainly use him and they hardly killed themselves getting him. But is he going to be enough to reverse this franchise’s fortunes? I highly doubt it.
Then again if Choo and Andrus play like they used to a few years ago and Gallo and Mazara both become all-stars, then we’re talking. A lot of things have to go right now, and with how the Rangers have been destroyed back-to-back years by horrible luck, underperformance, and injury, it’s about time things started going right.