PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels said farewell Friday to Philadelphia.
He had a heck of a 13-year run. It began in 2002, when the Phillies made him the 17th overall pick in the Draft. He reached the big leagues in 2006 with plenty of fanfare. He earned the National League Championship Series and World Series Most Valuable Player Awards in 2008, when the Phillies won their second championship in franchise history. He was part of a nearly storybook season in 2011, when he joined Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt in a memorable rotation.
"There's a lot to say and not enough time," Hamels said about his Phillies career at Citizens Bank Park, where he discussed his trade to the Rangers. "It is a part of who I am and what I've become, with the opportunity I've been given to play baseball in the historical city of Philadelphia. I've had some of the best memories I've ever had."
The Phillies traded Hamels, Jake Diekman and $9.5 million to Texas for left-hander Matt Harrison and five Minor League prospects: outfielder Nick Williams, catcher Jorge Alfardo and right-handers Jake Thompson, Jerad Eickhoff and Alec Asher.
Thompson, Williams and Alfaro are ranked 60th, 64th and 69th, respectively, among all prospects in MLB Pipeline's Top 100.
"We've got a very good package of players that I think will help propel this organization forward in the future," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
The Rangers and Phillies agreed to the trade Wednesday night, but it took until Friday to be finalized. Amaro said he and Rangers general manager Jon Daniels had been working on the trade for the past six to eight months.
It actually extended further back than that. The Phillies and Rangers discussed a Hamels trade in July 2012.
"There was no shortage of suitors here," Amaro said. "We were not forced. We had no mandate. We just felt collectively as a group that this was the right thing to do for our organization. We were very happy with the return. What we get in this return is still an unknown. Who knows what's going to happen with these guys? But we believe that the level of talent we received in this deal was exactly what we were looking for. We were looking for depth and quality, and we got both."
The Phillies and Astros actually agreed on a deal before the Phillies and Rangers, but Hamels had Houston on his 20-team no-trade list and rejected it. Texas was not on Hamels' no-trade list because he has family and friends in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
It is unclear who Houston offered to the Phillies, but the package was believed to be stronger than Texas'.
"There were some clubs that were aggressive," Amaro said. "Could we have gotten better deals? I don't know that, but we did travel down a path even with some clubs that he didn't have on his list. The fact of the matter is Texas' pieces, depth, and the way we lined up really worked very well for us. That's the best deal we felt we could make."
The Phillies kicked in $9.5 million and took Harrison's contract ($33 million) to get the prospects they wanted from Texas.
"We're in a world where teams are buying talent," Amaro said. "This is one of the ways we can use our economic muscle to buy talent. I think in a lot of ways that's what we did."
Williams, 21, has some of the quickest bat speed in the Minors. MLBPipeline.com said he could be a .280 hitter with the potential for 20 home runs per season.
"He's got a chance to be a real impact offensive player," Amaro said. "The hit tool has really become a bit of a separator for him amongst prospects out there."
Scouts believe Alfaro, 22, has the best combination of raw power and arm strength among all Minor League catchers, but had season-ending ankle surgery in June.
"We know the information from the Texas folks about his injury," Amaro said. "We felt comfortable that he's going to be fine. The beauty of Alfaro is that this guy is so athletic he can play another position, if the catching thing doesn't work out. But he's made great strides over the past few years, particularly with his work behind the plate. And we think he can impact us obviously behind the plate."
Thompson, 21, has one of the best sliders in the Minors and his fastball sits in the 90-95 mph range. He went 6-6 with a 4.72 ERA in 17 starts with Frisco. Eickhoff, 25, went 9-4 with a 4.25 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) at Triple-A Round Rock. Asher, 23, went a combined 4-10 record with a 4.43 ERA in 20 starts with Frisco and Round Rock.
"The pitching was very important to us," Amaro said. "They are all upper level guys who will pitch in the big leagues for us at some time. We just don't know how high. It depends how they will develop and develop here in the big leagues."
Hamels led the Phillies to a World Series. The Phillies hope this group leads them to another. Time will tell.
"I always wanted to be here fighting," Hamels said. "I think that's always what the motto has been: The Fighting Phils. I believed that and tried to live that. But I understand that this is the nature and this does happen and you have to accept it."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.