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Yankees potential trade target: Cole Hamels update

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Hamels has struggled lately and seen his trade value plummet.

In three July starts, Cole Hamels allowed 18 runs in only 12 innings.
In three July starts, Cole Hamels allowed 18 runs in only 12 innings.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Back on May 29th, I wrote that the Yankees should go after Cole Hamels. He was pitching well at the time, and boasts an extensive postseason resume.

Hamels has struggled recently. In three July starts, he allowed 18 runs in only 12 innings. He allowed seven runs in each of his first two starts to begin the month. Although he completed five innings against the White Sox on July 1st, he managed to record only two outs in his next start against the Tigers on July 7th. Struggling against two awful teams right when his trade value should be peaking isn’t a good sign.

At Baltimore in his final July start, Hamels allowed four runs on five hits and lasted six plus innings. He also coughed up four runs in his final June start against the Padres.

These recent disappointments really temper his success earlier this year. In 19 starts overall, Hamels limited opponents to two runs or less nine times. He also allowed four runs or more nine times, including three seven-run affairs and a pair of five-run outings. Hamels also gave up two home runs in eight of his starts, while carrying a disconcerting .790 OPS against over his 2018 campaign.

The 2018 Yankees finished with the 14th best first-half winning percentage (.653) in franchise history (since 1933). Eight of the 13 teams with better starts to the season went on to win the World Series. The five times they didn’t were anomalies. In 1954 (.667 first-half winning percentage), they won 103 games, but lost the pennant to the 111-win Indians. They dropped the ALCS to George Brett and the Royals in 1980 (.654). They also lost the World Series to the Dodgers in ‘55 (.655), Braves in ‘57 (.662), and Cardinals in ‘42 (.658).

This season is shaping up to be more similar to 1954 than the others. The Yankees could conceivably win 108 games and finish with the third-best record in the league. With the way the Yankees are playing — poorly against bad teams like Tampa Bay and Baltimore — combined with the Red Sox beating up on everyone, the AL East may soon be out of reach.

As a Wild Card entry, the Bombers would have to win on the road in the playoffs. Remember, they were a woeful 1-6 in the postseason away from Yankee Stadium last year. If they have any hope of changing that pattern this October, they really need to acquire a top-of-the-rotation starter to add to the trio of CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, and Luis Severino.

At this point, I don’t think Hamels is the guy. They could get him and hope he straightens out, but they already have a gaggle of inconsistent fifth-starter types. They really don’t need another one. I would prefer they pull out all stops to get Jacob deGrom, even if it means having to part with their top four or five prospects.