With the designation of Nick Williams, the final piece to the Cole Hamels trade has been jettisoned from Philadelphia, thusly closing the book — for the most part — on the trade between the Phillies and Rangers.
At the 2015 trade deadline the Phillies had owned that the window was closing on viable title runs and began its rebuild. The organization thought it took a big step in the right direction as it sent Cole Hamels and Jake Deikman to Texas for a load of six players. The prizes were thought to be a trio of prospects. At the time, outfielder Nick Williams, catcher Jorge Alfaro, and pitcher Jake Thompson were the top of the Ranger farm system as the trio was ranked No. 21, 30, 34, respectively, by Baseball Prospectus among all players. Pitchers Matt Harrison, Alec Asher, and Jared Eickhoff also headed to the National League.
It was viewed at the time as a great trade for both teams. Texas was set to compete with Yu Darvish and Derek Holland in the rotation and plenty of talent on the field. Hamels, then 32, was signed through 2018 with an option for 2019. Texas also received cash from Philadelphia, making Hamels contract weight to be about $12M a year — a value.
Bringing in three, Top 35 prospects was headline worthy. A wild card former All-Star in Harrison, with the theoretical upside of Asher and Eickhoff, was secondary in most analysis.
It turns out that Eickhoff was the most valuable member of that deal, which is not saying much. He went 21-30 with a 4.15 ERA (102 ERA+) in his five years with the club before heading to San Diego on a minor league deal. If you buy into WAR, he was the leader of the pack with a 6.0 during his time with the club.
The rest of the players netted a 0.5 WAR between them for the Phillies.
There was hope that Nick Williams was going to turn into a productive bat after his first year and a half. His 2017 short stint produced a 111 OPS+ as he slashed .288/.475/.811 in 83 games. A full 2018 came crashing back to Earth as he posted a league median 99 OPS+ with a .256/.425/.729 slash line. He has only had 108 at-bats since. In total he was a (-1.8) WAR.
Asher went 2-7 in 56 inning for the Phillies. He is now with Twins minor league system and has not been in the majors since 2018 after playing for Baltimore and Milwaukee.
Thompson went 7-8 during 116 innings over three seasons for Philadelphia. He hasn’t pitched in the majors the last two seasons and is part of the Angels farm system.
Harrison never threw a pitch for Philadelphia.
Alfaro, for his part, maintained his prospect status for the 2015-17 seasons as he bubbled between the majors and minors, but always staying inside the Top 100 prospects in the game.
Therein lies — if we search for a silver lining — a bright spot. Alfaro, and his bat, allowed the Phillies to put him in a package with pitcher Sixto Sanchez (then the No. 13 overall prospect in baseball) and Will Stewart for All-Star cathcer J.T. Realmuto.
All Hamels did with the Rangers was go 38-21 with a 3.90 ERA (118 ERA+) and produce a 16.5 WAR by himself. Oh, and took the Rangers to the playoffs in 2015 and 2016. He then was traded to Chicago, helping the Cubs to the 2018 playoffs.