In what seems like an obvious fallback plan, the Giants are reportedly kicking tires and doing their due diligence on Cole Hamels. The ace left-hander has five years, $110 million left on his contract, which is far, far less than he would get on the open market. He's excellent and durable, just like Lester. If you're looking for salary relief with this trade, it's probably not going to be there.
Earlier in the offseason, I figured there was no way the Giants could compete with a player like Hamels (or Justin Upton), but the prospect-rich teams like the Red Sox and Dodgers are ferociously guarding their best young players. The Red Sox won't give up Mookie Betts. The Dodgers won't give up Corey Seager. Matt Gelb wrote a really nice article about this phenomenon, noting that Ruben Amaro, Jr. is finally realizing just how hard it is for a team to extract a top prospect these days:
"This is a world we live in now, where prospects are viewed differently than in the past," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "That’s probably the better way to view it. We have to make adjustments off of that. we’re aware of it. It’s common enough now to know that’s the way the industry works."
Indeed. But you know who would unload their top prospects for Hamels? The Giants. Oh, I wouldn't think anyone is untouchable. That's the hidden beauty of a slumping farm. The Giants have no A prospects, which should make a deal impossible. If the other guys aren't budging, though, the Giants have a chance.
It's a tiny chance. When you get a chance to get a guy like this, though:
You have to at least ask. Would you trade three or four of the Giants' top prospects for Hamels? I would. I also would have traded them at the deadline for someone more impressive than Jake Peavy, and the Giants wouldn't have won the World Series. I'm bad at this.
Still, I'll show my math: Hamels + $ left over from Lester - prospects > Just Lester alone. Heck, take the money and spend it on Yoan Moncada right away. Instant farm, just add Yoan. This offseason belongs to madness, people. Embrace it.