Phillies

Cole Hamels the favorite to win AL Cy Young; J.A. Happ 4th

Cole Hamels the favorite to win AL Cy Young; J.A. Happ 4th

For all of Cole Hamels' accolades and achievements during his 10 seasons with the Phillies, he never finished higher than fifth in Cy Young voting.

This year, in his first full season with the Texas Rangers, he's Bovada's AL Cy Young favorite as of Sept. 1, with 2/1 odds.

Hamels is 14-4 with a 2.91 ERA in 27 starts with Texas this season. He's struck out 171 batters in 173 innings but also walked a career-worst 3.4 batters per nine innings.

Despite pitching in the tougher league, Hamels has posted the third-best ERA of his career and the third-best in the American League, behind only Aaron Sanchez and Jose Quintana. The Rangers, at 80-54, have the best record in the AL.

It really just shows that, despite the common perception in Philadelphia that the Phillies received a strong haul in exchange for Hamels, Texas is quite happy with its own portion of the trade. Hamels has made 39 regular-season starts for Texas over the last 1½ seasons and gone 21-5 with a 3.16 ERA. And keep in mind the Rangers are paying only about half of his remaining salary.

Another former Phillie, J.A. Happ, is fourth on Bovada's list of AL Cy Young favorites at 8/1, behind Corey Kluber and Chris Sale (3/1). 

Happ has been remarkably consistent for another AL playoff contender in Toronto, going 17-4 with a 3.23 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 26 starts. 

Who'da thunk it? 

Phillies close to trading Freddy Galvis

Phillies close to trading Freddy Galvis

The Phillies have been aggressively shopping Freddy Galvis this offseason and they may have found the right suitor.

The Phils and Padres are in "serious talks" about a Galvis trade, which could happen as soon as Friday, according to Bleacher Report's Scott Miller.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury has reported this offseason that the Padres have done extensive homework on the Phillies' 28-year-old shortstop.

Last season, the 71-91 Padres used 33-year-old Erick Aybar at shortstop for the majority of games. San Diego heads into this season without a clear starting option at the game's most important defensive position.

Galvis has been a Gold Glove finalist two years in a row and was probably robbed this season, when he committed just seven errors in 637 defensive chances but still lost out to Brandon Crawford.

A free agent at season's end, Galvis has hit .248/.292/.390 the last two seasons with an average of 28 doubles, four triples, 16 homers and 64 RBIs.

The Phillies are known to be looking for pitching in exchange for Galvis, but his trade value isn't as high as it could be because of his impending free agency.

If/when Galvis is traded, J.P. Crawford would step in as the Phillies' everyday shortstop. The soon-to-be-23-year-old Crawford hit .214 with a .356 on-base percentage in 23 games as a rookie in 2017.

Angels' moves hurt Phillies' chances of catching Trout

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AP Images

Angels' moves hurt Phillies' chances of catching Trout

The Eagles made Angel Stadium in Anaheim their home away from home last week. The entire team was greeted with a gift of a Mike Trout bobblehead. Nigel Bradham even used the Millville native and Birds season ticketholder's locker to dress. Trout left a personalized message to his favorite team prior to the Rams game.

Yet another link that it is kismet for the native son, the best player in his sport, to return someday soon to Philadelphia and play for the team he grew up rooting for? After all, the Phillies are flush with spending money should the opportunity arise. They appear to have the makings of a strong nucleus that could lure the 26-year-old back East. His deal runs through 2020 and Trout would be only 29 at the end of that contract. Seems perfect, right?  

Not so fast, my red pinstriped friends.

Hold on, we'll get to that in one minute. If you've been comatose the last seven seasons, all Trout has done since debuting in the big leagues in 2011 is win two MVPs, finish second in MVP voting three times and make six All-Star Games. The marriage here with the Phillies, a team he was a die-hard fan of growing up — even attending the 2008 World Series Championship parade as a senior in high school — would be one made in heaven. 

Adding fodder to the Trout-to-Philly hype is the Angels have reached the postseason only once in his time there. The hope from a fan's perspective would be Anaheim would continue to languish in mediocrity and eventually be forced to move Trout to possibly begin a rebuild, or he would play out his deal and walk. Wishful thinking? Sure. Out of the question? No. Trout has a full no-trade, so he can pick and choose where he ends up if he wishes to leave Southern California for South Philly prior to the end of his deal.

However, there may be a fly in the ointment. Despite it being only December, the Angels have had themselves an offseason. They signed Japanese two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani. The 23-year-old is a three-pitch starter who can touch over 100 mph on the gun with his fastball. He posted a 1.86 ERA in 140 innings for his Nippon-Ham club in Japan's Pacific League, a very high level of baseball. He also batted .322 with a .416 on-base percentage, while slugging .588 last season. In 2016, he hit 22 home runs. This was a major coup for the Angels, who won a bidding war over many other suitors around the league to land the right-handed pitching, left-handed hitting Ohtani.  

The Angels also signed veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler, a four-time All-Star and 2016 Gold Glove winner. Despite being 35, Kinsler is a major upgrade from what they had last year at the position. Anaheim also traded for Justin Upton late last year and re-signed him in the offseason. He'll play next to Trout in left. The Angels still need to upgrade their pitching. But on paper, they have the makings of a potent lineup that, with some pitching help, could land a wild-card spot in the playoffs. That is not music to Phillies fans' ears.

We're a long way away from 2020, so a lot can happen both here and 2,376 miles away in Orange County. The Phillies need to hope their current young nucleus blossoms like the group of Rollins, Utley, Howard and Hamels did in the mid-2000s. They should also keep a close eye on their neighbors to the West and cross their fingers things don't go so well. If both scenarios play out in their favor, the Phillies could reel in the biggest fish in franchise history.