The smell of the postseason can do a lot of things to a team. It can cause them to play better, to motivate. It
can cause them to collapse under the pressure. Or it can cause them to hold onto players they otherwise wouldn’t have. With two additional slots open this season for the play-offs – one extra Wild Card in each league – more teams are in the postseason hunt than ever before. And Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says that’s the reason why the trade market for starting pitchers has suddenly diminished.
Cole Hamels was once one of the hottest, if not the hottest, commodities on the trading block. Now though, it seems as if he may re-sign with the Phillies. Zack Greinke was a late addition to the rumor mill as it took the Brewers some time to decide whether they would dangle him or just shell out the cash to re-negotiate his deal. His name has been linked all over the place, but he too is possibly going to be yanked off the market by the Brewers just as fast as he was placed on.
Rosenthal says the Phillies are in talks with Hamels for a new six-year deal. However, the Brewers and Greinke may not be close to an extension, but the appeal seems to have worn off by potential trade suitors. Why? The Brewers are still in play-off contention. They may not be able to say that this time next year, even with a solid return on a Greinke trade. Milwaukee’s desire to make the postseason one last time – if that’s what it ends up being – could overrule their desire to trade Greinke and his expiring contract.
Philadelphia’s play-off hopes are dying fast. They are 10 games out of the second Wild Card spot, but they aren’t convinced this team can’t win, even if it is next season. Hamels can help them there. The Brewers, on the other hand, are only six games back of the second Wild Card spot. They could rattle off a few wins and suddenly find themselves in contention. If that happens, they want to have a Cy Young caliber ace on their squad. In steps Greinke to play out the rest of his contract.
Rosenthal correctly points out that if both Greinke and Hamels are no longer truly available, pitchers like Matt Garza may see their value sky-rocket.