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Cole Hamels traded to the Rangers

The Texas Rangers are not making the American League playoffs in 2015, but they certainly upped their chances in 2016 on Wednesday night. According to multiple reports, the Rangers struck a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies for left-handed pitcher Cole Hamels. In exchange, Texas is sending four prospects to Philadelphia including Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Alec Asher and Jake Thompson, along with pitcher Matt Harrison.

So why would the Rangers make this kind of blockbuster move for Hamels when the team is mired in third place of the AL West and going nowhere fast? Because once Yu Darvish returns from his Tommy John surgery next year, Texas will have a ridiculous combination of Darvish and Hamels at the top of the rotation with Martin Perez and others behind them. In a division that has the young Houston Astros and deep-pocketed Los Angeles Angels, getting a quality rotation is a must to compete.

The Phillies also make the right move with this deal. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has been embattled for years at his post for refusing to deal away players in an effort to rebuild. Although Amaro has still done a terrible job overall, he made the correct moves in trading closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals earlier this week and then dealing Hamels. The rebuilding has finally begun for the Phillies, even if it started a few years too late.

Hamels is still under control through the 2018 season with a $20 million option for 2019. While the southpaw is anything but cheap, he also brings a quality arm with postseason experience. In 2015, Hamels is 6-7 with a 3.64 earned run average and a 1.18 WHIP, but that belies the tremendous talent inside him. The 31-year-old is a 10-year veteran and has pitched to a career 3.30 ERA, not going above the 4.00 threshold since 2009.

Hamels has won double-digit games six times, although he has not hit that number since 2012 when he went 17-6, due in large part to playing on one of the worst teams in baseball. Hamels will have to live with playing on a non-contender for the next two months, but should be in a much better position come spring training in February.

The other terrific trait about Hamels is his durability. The lefty has been able to make at least 30 starts in every season (excluding 2015, although he has 20 starts to his credit) since 2007, when he made 28. In this day and age, it is extremely tough to find a workhorse the quality of Hamels.

Texas might need to live with another lost season in 2015, but general manager Jon Daniels ensured a better future. While the cost was significant, Daniels was right to pull the trigger on this deal. It is near impossible to find proven starting pitching, and that is exactly what the Rangers have landed.

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