Cole Hamels sure likes to take the mound at Wrigley Field.
Now, it looks like he'll be pitching there every fifth day.
Hamels is being traded from the Rangers to the Cubs, according to a report Thursday night by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Per a report by Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, the Rangers are also sending a significant amount of cash while receiving minor leaguers in return.
It did not seem like the Phillies were strongly in on Hamels. The Phillies scouted the left-hander Monday night, according to a report by MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, but general manager Matt Klentak had said last week he was hoping to avoid the starting pitching market at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
"Right now starting pitching has been the strength of our team this year," he said last Friday. "We’re very encouraged about not only the five here but also what we have in Triple A, and we’re hopeful that that’s going to mean that we can stay out of the starting pitcher trade market at the deadline because, if you can avoid it, that is definitely a market to avoid."
Hamels will join the National League-leading Cubs, who are 60-42. The 34-year-old is 3-1 with a 1.76 ERA, 40 strikeouts and six walks in six career starts at the Friendly Confines, where he of course pitched that 2015 no-hitter in his final outing with the Phillies. He was traded six days later to the Rangers.
The lefty is having a rough 2018. He's 5-9 with a 4.72 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, while he's also hit a career-high 12 batters. Over his last five starts, Hamels has a 10.23 ERA.
The reported Rangers-Cubs trade comes on the same day J.A. Happ, another former Phillie, was dealt to the Yankees (see story). The Phillies had "definite interest" in Happ, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury reported 10 days ago (see story).
Klentak has said the Phillies will continue to seek upgrades at the deadline. The team entered Thursday in first place of the NL East at 57-44. The Phillies could add a bat or another piece to the bullpen.
However, the starting pitching market appears even less likely for the Phillies after Thursday.