The Phillies continue towards the trade deadline with perhaps the single trade candidate who could bring the best return: pitcher Cole Hamels. Whether the Phillies wish to actually trade Hamels, or are doing their due diligence, remains to be seen. One report this morning seems to indicate that they have set an asking price for Hamels.
Nick Cafardo, National Baseball Writer for the Boston Globe, writes:
Cole Hamels, LHP, Phillies — The Phillies have been discouraged by what they’re hearing from other teams on Hamels. The Phillies consider him their biggest trade chip, but will hold on to him if they don’t get what they consider a fair deal. The Red Sox sent their top pitching scout, Eddie Bane, to watch Hamels before the break. The Phillies have scouted the Red Sox’ major and minor league teams all season. One major league source said if the Phillies get a taker on the full contract and they get three top prospects, he’s gone, and Hamels, according to another major league source, wouldn’t mind.
Just last night on the Phillies "Star of the Game" show on the Phillies radio broadcast, Hamels spoke at length about how much he loves playing in Philadelphia and his desire to stay in Philadelphia for another championship. That is the right thing to say publicly. But, Hamels knows what it's like to win a World Championship, and I'm sure he'd love to win another.
As for the Phillies, setting a high package out there could net the Phillies some key pieces for the future. We all witnessed how a trade of Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves brought the team shortstop Elvis Andrus, closer Neftali Feliz, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and pitchers Matt Harrison and Beau Jones.
The pieces of this trade became the core of the Rangers team that went to back to back World Series in 2010 and 2011. The Phillies cannot possibly say no if they can bring such a haul, while paying none of Hamels' salary.
But, if Hamels stays, the Phillies are happy to have him.