The Cubs need starting pitching, that much is clear.
But will they trade elite prospects to acquire one of the top pitchers on the market? Maybe Cole Hamels?
Former New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips joined Kap and Haugh Tuesday and said he wouldn't give up Kris Bryant for "anything" and would balk at letting go of Addison Russell, too. But he would absolutely leverage the Cubs' current top prospect Kyle Schwarber for Hamels.
"To get Cole Hamels in a deal, I would absolutely trade Schwarber," Phillips said. "And I would trade Javier Baez. I don't think Baez is going to be an impact guy; I don't think he's gonna come back to haunt you. I think he'll hit some home runs, but he won't be a functional-enough player because of his swings-and-misses and the strikeouts compared to the walks. I would be willing to take the chance."
The issue with Baez is the Phillies haven't seemed to be interested in him, or at least not enough to get rid of Hamels. But Schwarber?
Schwarber has already had success at the big-league level - .364 average, .982 OPS during his six-game stretch earlier this month - and owns a .312/.425/.575 (1.000 OPS) line in the minors this season between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.
There are still questions over whether or not Schwarber can be a capable catcher at the highest level, but the bat seems to be legit.
Meanwhile, Hamels will be 32 in December and is still owed more than $100 million on the seven-year, $159-million extension he signed.
Hamels has a career 3.27 ERA and 1.14 WHIP and has averaged almost a strikeout per inning over his 10-year career. He has made at least 30 starts in each of the last seven seasons and is on pace to do so again in 2015.
Hamels could be a game-changer for the Cubs, but would it be worth giving up a guy like Schwarber (assuming, of course the Phillies would take that deal)?
Phillips had to face decisions like this when he was GM of the Mets from July 1997 to June 2003. During the five full seasons at the helm, he engineered four winning teams, two playoff appearances and even made it to the World Series in 2000 (the Yankees beat the Mets).
"I wouldn't mind if the prospects I gave up turned out to be good players," Phillips said. "I look at it like this - are they as good at their position as Cole Hamels is? Probably not. Most prospects don't fulfill that ultimate potential. Even if they do, I'm getting the timed value of that today rather than waiting three or four years down the road and it's a good chance to get to the playoffs.
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"... In my mind, it's worth doing something like that. Schwarber - love his bat, but I'm not convinced where he plays. He's not gonna catch. There's no indication from anybody I've talked to that he's going to be an adequate starting catcher to handle a pitching staff in the National League.
"He looks more like a DH than anything else. So if Philadelphia wants to get him and figure it out, so be it. But I would absolutely put him in a deal for Cole Hamels."