Padres remain favorite to land Hamels

The Padres have been involved in a flurry of moves this offseason, but are thought to still be in the market to acquire a top of the rotation starting pitcher.

And while San Diego does not appear to be in on free agent starters Max Scherzer and James Shields, likely because of the length and size of the contracts they would demand, the Padres do have Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels on their radar, as his contract is much more manageable.

Jon Heyman of writes “nothing is imminent or even on the front burner” but the Padres are currently the favorite to land the Phillies ace who was also born in San Diego.

Hamels, 31, has four years remaining on a six-year $144 million contract, an average of $24 million a year, but the limited length makes him more attractive. His 2.46 ERA was fifth in the National League last season and his 6.9 wins above replacement was the second best in the league (Clayton Kershaw — 8.0).

The Cubs, Red Sox and Cardinals are the remaining teams expected to be interested in trading for Hamels.

The Padres have overhauled their roster this offseason through the trade market, acquiring outfielders Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers along with catcher Derek Norris. Even with their recent trade activity the Padres have held on to four of their top six prospects.

Earlier rumors surrounding a potential trade for Hamels included the Padres having to part ways with Myers, however, recent trade scenarios have not included him as a potential piece. The Phillies would likely command a large return of prospects, as they are in the midst of a rebuild.

One rival executive, however, questioned to Heyman whether the Phillies are actually committed to trading Hamels because of their demand for such a large return.

– Jamal Collier

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