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Levine: Hamels Makes Sense, But Deal Would Be Difficult

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Cole Hamels. (Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Cole Hamels. (Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Bruce Levine Bruce Levine
Bruce Levine covers both the Cubs and the White Sox for CBSChicago.co...
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By Bruce Levine-

(CBS) Phillies ace Cole Hamels was recently placed on revocable waivers and has been claimed by an unidentified team, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Late Wednesday night, Philadelphia radio host Mike Missanelli tweeted the Cubs were the team that had submitted that claim. Though Missanelli’s report has yet to be confirmed, it’s a move that seems logical on the surface, given the Cubs’ desire for an elite starting pitching and the front office’s caution in committing to a brand-new long-term deal in an era in which pitchers’ arms are more fragile than ever.

If the Cubs were the team to make the claim, it doesn’t mean the left-handed Hamels is Chicago-bound — but here’s the details you need to know.

The 30-year-old Hamels has veto rights on trades involving 21 teams, including the Cubs and White Sox. After this season’s end, Hamels has four years and a possible fifth-year vesting option left on his original six-year, $144-million deal that was signed before the 2013 season.

Contract obligations are currently close to $100 million for Hamels through 2018. The contract would also include a buyout of $6 million for 2019. The Cubs have stated that they will go hard after viable pitching over the next 18 to 24 months. General manager Jed Hoyer presented that timeline on July 31, after the deadline for non-waiver deals had ended.

Even if Hamels would waive his veto rights and accept a deal to Chicago, it’s difficult to imagine a package of young players that would satisfy Philadelphia, outside of top prospects such as Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. The Cubs have little in the way of pitching to send back to the  Phillies to make a deal realistic.

The Cubs have plenty of payroll flexibility to take on the contract of Hamels or a potential free agent like Jon Lester this offseason. The Cubs have major commitments to only Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo for 2015 and beyond. In the 2012 offseason, they made a run at Annibel Sanchez to the tune of $80 million. This past winter, Chicago was reported to have offered $120 million to Masahiro Tanaka, who eventually signed a much larger deal with the Yankees.

With revocable waivers, a team has just 48 hours to make a deal with the claiming team. If noting is worked out after that period, the team can pull the claimed player back. Players who are claimed and not traded can’t go back on trade waivers for 30 days.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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