In Ken Rosenthal's latest dispatch for FoxSports.com, he provides us with the latest indication that the expectations harbored by some Phillies fans about a Cole Hamels trade are unrealistic. Rosenthal says that the Rangers are unwilling to trade Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar or Martin Perez for a rental player. Olt is a guy who many fans have targeted as the Phillies' third baseman of the future, and you have to think that Ruben Amaro Jr. would target him as well. The 23-year-old entered Sunday hitting .292/.403/.574 with 22 home runs and 85 strikeouts in 281 at-bats at Double-A Frisco. Only problem is, the Rangers have asked him to play some first base this season, raising the possibility that they find a place for him at the position on the big league level. Conventional wisdom had suggested that Olt was blocked by Adrian Beltre at third and thus could be had in a trade.
The simple truth is that general managers are going to be reluctant to part with a legit prospect at a premium position in exchange for two months of a player, even one who is as good as Hamels. As we noted in our earlier breakdown of the trade deadline, C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee both landed Top 50 prospects, as rated by Baseball America, but both of those prospects were first basemen.
-ESPN's Buster Olney says that the Phillies' asking price for Shane Victorino is "very, very high right now." That isn't atypical of two weeks before the trade deadline. No harm in asking for the moon. In reality, though, the Phillies are probably going to have to settle for an uninspiring package. Take, for example, the Braves' trade for Michael Bourn last year. Atlanta gave up four players, none of which were in Baseball America's Top 100, or even among the organization's top five prospects. Brett Oberholtzer was ranked the ninth prospect in the organization by BA, but he projects as little more than a back-of-the-rotation starter or a middle reliever. Paul Clemens, a 22-year-old righty, might have a little more upside. Again, though, not a top prospect. BA didn't even have him in the Braves' Top 10. The other pieces were Juan Abreu, a reliever with command problems, and Jordan Schafer, who was once a top prospect but has struggled in the majors. And that was for a center fielder who was in the middle of a better season and who had another year left on his contract. If the Phillies can get a piece that can help them out of the bullpen or at the back of the rotation in the next couple seasons, it will be a successful trade.