Texas Rangers

Trade rumors heating up on Rangers’ Cole Hamels, Adrian Beltre

Cole Hamels to the Chicago Cubs? Adrian Beltre and the Atlanta Braves?

Those are the latest trade rumors picking up steam as of Thursday night. It’s no secret the Texas Rangers will be linked to several teams as they’re in selling mode with the trade deadline approaching Tuesday.

Hamels has emerged as a strong candidate to bolster the Cubs’ rotation, according to reports. It makes sense as the Cubs are one of a handful of teams that Hamels cannot block a trade too.

And the Cubs need rotation help with Yu Darvish on the disabled list, and right-hander Tyler Chatwood struggling of late.

Hamels, 34, is struggling of late, too, going 1-3 with a 10.23 ERA in his last five starts. But, for the Cubs, the belief is that Hamels would be rejuvenated by joining an organization in the playoff mix and give a similar boost as to what Justin Verlander did for the Houston Astros last season.

Hamels is 5-9 with a 4.72 ERA in 20 starts for the Rangers this season, but has been significantly better on the road than at Globe Life Park. He’s enjoyed postseason success, too, being named the 2008 World Series MVP.

In 16 postseason games, Hamels is 7-6 with 3.48 ERA.

Hamels is making $23.5 million this season and has a team option for $20 million next season with a $6 million buyout. The Rangers would like to get as much of that salary off the books, although could eat some of the contract to land a better prospect(s).

Of note was the Cubs scratching right-hander Rollie Lacy from his scheduled start Thursday at High A Myrtle Beach. Lacy, a 23-year-old right-hander, is 5-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 18 games, including 12 starts, this season with stints at Myrtle Beach and Class A South Bend.

Beltre, meanwhile, has been linked to the Braves of late. He’d give Atlanta a veteran and a right-handed bat at third base.

Beltre has the right to reject the trade. But he may be open to it as it’d reunite him with former Rangers manager Ron Washington, now the Braves’ third-base coach.

Finally, the Rangers have several relievers who could be trade candidates. The most prominent is closer Keone Kela, who has drawn interest from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

For now, though, nothing is official. It’s still just speculation.

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