Cole Hamels

Why Phillies' potential interest in Red Sox top prospect Manuel Margot adds intrigue to Cole Hamels situation

Rob Bradford
April 29, 2015 - 7:37 am

In times like these, Red Sox fans should take note of all the travel plans for every top Phillies talent evaluator. That's why the Philadelphia Daily News report suggesting Charlie Manuel (now an adviser for the Phillies) will be venturing down to Salem, Virginia, to take a look at Red Sox top prospect Manuel Margot offers some intrigue. According to major league sources, the Phillies' demands for pitcher Cole Hamels remain extremely uncomfortable for those seeking to deal for the lefty. But with teams -- such as the Red Sox -- suddenly finding significant concerns in their starting rotations, Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro's strategy of waiting for the right deal might pan out. Right now, the Cardinals (losing Adam Wainwright), Yankees (injury to Masahiro Tanaka), Rangers (without Yu Darvish), Dodgers (Brandon McCarthy out for the season), and Mets (something to put them over the top) all would be considered candidates for Hamels' services. Then there's the Red Sox, who are attempting to preach patience with their starters but carry a rotation with the worst ERA in the majors by more than half a run (6.03). The Red Sox, according to a source, have let the Phillies know where they stand in regard to the price they're willing to pay for Hamels. Outfielder Mookie Betts and catcher Blake Swihart are two players the Sox are not comfortable putting in the conversation. That's why the Phillies' potential interest in Margot is intriguing. The 20-year-old outfielder is continuing to position himself as one of the top prospects in the Red Sox farm system and throughout baseball. In 16 games with Single-A Salem, he is hitting .344 with a .940 OPS and seven steals. (He stole 39 bags in 99 games with Single-A Greenville last season.) Margot has yet to strike out while walking five times in 66 plate appearances. When it comes to Hamels, there would seem to be at least another prominent piece of the puzzle needed coming from the Red Sox. The prevailing thought is that another ask from the Phils would be one of the Sox' top upper-level minor league pitching prospects -- Eduardo Rodriguez, Brian Johnson or Henry Owens. All three have gotten off to strong starts with Triple-A Pawtucket. Hamels is owed $22.5 million this season and through 2018. He has a 2019 club option for $20 million, which he presumably would ask the Red Sox to vest in order to waive the no-trade provision he has in regard to Boston.