Sources told MLB.com on Wednesday night that Hamels will be traded to the Texas Rangers in a massive eight-player deal. The deal is pending both teams reviewing and approving medical reports of the players involved in the deal. If everything goes well, the Phillies will send Hamels, left-hander Jake Diekman and cash to the Rangers for five prospects -- outfielder Nick Williams, catcher Jorge Alfaro and right-handers Jake Thompson, Jerad Eickhoff and Alec Asher -- along with Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison, who has made nine starts over the past three seasons because of a back injury.
Hamels, 31, declined comment following Wednesday night's 8-2 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Diekman indicated that he had not heard much as he left for the team bus for the flight back to Philadelphia.
"They were talking about this right after the season last year," said Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, who along with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are the only remaining members of the 2008 World Series championship team. "If they have to make a move ... they're trying to rebuild the team. We just have to keep going. But definitely it's sad when you're around one of your teammates for a long time and then they have to go away."
Hamels, whom the Phillies selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2002 Draft, almost single-handedly carried the Phillies to their second World Series championship in franchise history. He earned National League Championship Series and World Series Most Valuable Player Awards that postseason. He finishes his Phillies career 114-90 with a 3.30 ERA in 295 career games (294 starts). He is 7-4 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 postseason starts.
But the Phillies have looked to trade Hamels since the end of the 2014 season to speed up their rebuilding process. USA Today reported that Hamels first rejected a trade to the Astros before the Phillies agreed to the trade with Texas.
Hamels could reject a trade to 20 teams, but the Rangers were not on that list. FOXSports.com reported the Phillies will send $9.5 million to the Rangers, plus take the entirety of the roughly $32.3 million owed Harrison through 2017. Hamels is owed about $81 million: $7.5 million for the remainder of this season, plus $22.5 million each of the next three seasons. He also has a $6 million buyout on a $19 million club option for 2019 that automatically vests at $24 million based on innings pitched.
In essence, the Phillies are paying nearly $42 million to get the prospects they wanted from Texas.
But this trade for the Phillies is about the future. They received three of the Rangers' top six prospects, according to MLBPipeline.com: Thompson (fourth), Williams (fifth) and Alfaro (sixth). Eickhoff ranked 17th and Asher ranked 29th.
Thompson, Williams and Alfaro are ranked 60th, 64th and 69th, respectively, among all prospects in Minor League Baseball.
The Phillies wanted big hitters in any trade for Hamels, and they believe they got two with Williams, 21, and Alfaro, 22. Williams, who was a second-round pick in the 2012 Draft, was hitting .300 with 21 doubles, four triples, 13 home runs, 45 RBIs and an .837 OPS with Double-A Frisco. Alfaro, who signed a $1.3 million bonus in 2010, will miss the rest of this season following left ankle surgery in June, but before that, MLBPipeline.com said he "has the best combination of raw power and pure arm strength among Minor League catchers."
Thompson, 21, was traded from Detroit to Texas last year for Joakim Soria and became Texas' top starting pitching prospect. He was 6-6 with a 4.72 ERA in 17 starts with Frisco.
Eickhoff, 25, was 8-4 with a 4.47 ERA in 17 games with Triple-A Round Rock. Asher, 23, was 3-6 with a 4.73 ERA in 12 starts with Round Rock.
In time, the Phillies hope a few of those players catapult the Phillies to their next postseason run, similar to how Hamels, Utley, Howard, Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins led the Phillies to five consecutive National League East titles from 2007-11. But the Phillies had to sacrifice one of their greatest postseason performers to get them.
"Just a surreal moment," Hamels said following Saturday's no-hitter.