PHOENIX — Cole Hamels has Boston on his 20-team no-trade list. Not a big deal.
After discussing the issue with Hamels’s agent, John Boggs (fourth cousin of Wade Boggs), it appears the Red Sox and Phillies could still make a deal for the lefthander.
When FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal first reported the Red Sox being on Hamels’s no-trade list, which he can revise every year of his contract, there was some speculation that Hamels didn’t want to play in Boston. It turns out Hamels has no issue with the Red Sox.
It’s basically leverage for Hamels, who could force an interested team to pick up his 2019 option for $20 million, making the remainder of his contract worth $110 million over five years.
The Phillies have scouted the Red Sox extensively and like their prospects, so this situation is worth keeping an eye on through the next month or so. The Cubs tried to deal for Hamels earlier this year, and they have the pieces to get him.
Meanwhile, the first day of the GM meetings did produce one major signing — Michael Cuddyer, who was given a $15.3 million qualifying offer by the Rockies, signed a two-year, $21 million deal with the New York Mets.
The Mets, in need of a righthanded bat, struck quickly in free agency. They were willing to give up the 15th pick in next year’s draft as compensation for signing Cuddyer, who is 35 and played in only 49 games last season because of hamstring and shoulder injuries.
“Michael is a tremendous addition to the middle of our lineup,” general manager Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “He is a proven offensive threat who also brings versatility in the field and the ability to play multiple positions.”
Yahoo Sports reported the Mets also engaged in discussions with the Rockies for Troy Tulowitzki. Moving the shortstop would likely require the Rockies to eat some of the $118 million remaining on his contract.
There were certainly a lot of other story lines developing at the meetings.
For instance, Yoenis Cespedes is drawing interest. Cespedes hasn’t jumped at the chance to re-sign with the Red Sox, and the Sox will shop him if they don’t believe they have a legitimate shot to keep him.
The Sox are desperately trying to open an outfield spot for Mookie Betts, and moving Cespedes would do that. Could Cespedes bring a starting pitcher in return?
It would be easy to move Cespedes if the Red Sox sign Pablo Sandoval. His agent, Gus Vazquez, arrived in Phoenix Monday afternoon and met with the Red Sox. He also will meet with the White Sox, Blue Jays, and Giants.
Sandoval is said to be asking for a six-year deal, which gets into the $110 million-$120 million range. It’s anyone’s guess whether the Red Sox or Giants would pay it.
The White Sox have a lot of money to spend. Could they be a sleeper?
As for the Yankees, they are looking for a starting pitcher, a shortstop, and relief help. After signing Chris Young, they’re out of the outfielder market. The Yankees have put out the message that they’re not going to be involved in high-ticket items on the pitching front, but they would certainly like to re-sign righty Brandon McCarthy.
Russell Martin also is a topic of conversation. The Cubs have shown the most interest in the catcher, but his representatives have had conversations with the Pirates, Blue Jays, Dodgers, and, one source indicated, the Red Sox — but that pairing seems unlikely because of the Sox’ commitment to Christian Vazquez.
Outfielder Torii Hunter has drawn interest from multiple teams, including the Royals. Hunter would fit on a team looking for a veteran presence in its lineup.
The Dodgers and Braves continue to offer up outfielders. Some Dodgers insiders don’t believe the team will deal Matt Kemp, and believe Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford are the most likely to go. The Dodgers would assume some salary relief.
The Braves are in a similar boat. They will listen on Justin Upton and Jason Heyward, and would love to dump B.J. Upton, who has been a complete bomb since signing a five-year, $75 million deal prior to the 2013 season.
The Mariners are in on free agent shortstop Hanley Ramirez. While other teams might not view Ramirez as a shortstop, the Mariners believe his offense makes up for his deficiencies on defense.
Victor Martinez is a popular free agent. Seattle has been the most aggressive team toward the DH. Martinez would love to return to Detroit and the Tigers have said the feeling is mutual. But for now, the Tigers aren’t offering the four-year deal Martinez wants.
And then there’s Scott Boras.
He’s trying to get a Max Scherzer deal done, but he will likely move slowly and engage as many big-market teams, including the Red Sox, as possible. Teams shopping for an ace may opt for Jon Lester and James Shields since they’ll be cheaper.
Nick Cafardo can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.