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The Phillies have explored the idea of trading Cole Hamels for a couple of months now, but nothing has been set in stone and no negotiations reached a point anyone would label as being close to a deal. There were rumors the Phillies were asking for a huge haul for Hamels -- as they should given their needs -- and the expectation that he would stay put at least until Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, and maybe even James Shields signed. While it's still not clear when a trade would go down, it's becoming more obvious that Hamels isn't long for the Phillies: Hamels reportedly waived his no-trade clause for the Yankees, the Rangers, the Padres, and six unknown National League teams a few days before Christmas.
That doesn't mean the Phillies can only choose from those nine clubs when figuring out potential Hamels' destinations. Those nine teams won't have to pick up Hamels' $20 million option for 2019 in order to trade for him, however, and that could make a swap a little simpler since one fewer year of guaranteed commitment -- with the option still around should it prove to be worthwhile -- is an attractive proposition.
Peter Gammons wonders if Hamels is going to bring the Phillies the franchise-changing return they seek. The Padres probably don't want to move potential cornerstone Wil Myers. The Red Sox aren't going to trade Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart to get a Hamels' deal done, and their insistence on not going higher for Lester is likely a sign they won't be forced into anything they don't want. The Dodgers won't move Julio Urias, Corey Seager, or Joc Pederson. The Yankees might have the prospects to complete a Hamels' deal, but not the ones that would rejuvenate the Phillies. History suggests the Phillies are going to be disappointed when they finally do move their best pitcher, but there is a very real chance he won't be that kind of pitcher by the time the Phillies are any good again, so they almost have to move him. Almost.
SB Nation Studios presents: Bill Murray talking about his love of baseball and his lifelong support of the Cubs.
- The Phillies did bring in a new pitcher by signing Wandy Rodriguez to a minor-league deal, but that's not a herald for a Hamels' trade. It is a good idea, though, since he's exactly the kind of pitcher they can flip in July should he rebound.
- The Yankees are seeing something of a youth movement, or, at least, the Yankees' version of one. It's coming in both the rotation and the lineup, though, so there is that.
- Part of that youth movement is being forced on New York, as Hiroki Kuroda is headed back to Japan and might never come back.
- Jason Heyward should probably bat second for the Cardinals in 2015. And in 2016, too, but there's that whole contract extension thing that needs to be worked out first.
- The Mariners look like a solid team right now, but things go wrong over the course of a long baseball season, and Seattle is not built to handle anything going wrong.
- The Giants still need some help in their lineup, and the Rays have been seemingly willing to ship out just about anyone if they think it will help them in the long run. Maybe Ben Zobrist will be added to that list soon.
- The 20th anniversary of the Padres and Astros 12-player trade -- yes, a trade with 12 players in it -- came on Sunday. A trio of very 90s baseball players in Ken Caminiti, Steve Finley, and Derek Bell were all moved in this deal.
- The Tigers haven't talked extension with David Price at all, so it's fair to wonder if they still hope to trade him and then re-sign Max Scherzer.
- The Royals should use all that bullpen depth to improve elsewhere, because it's the kind of thing those medium-market teams need to do to remain successful.
- Are the Mariners spending enough money given their resources and market? Spoiler: nope.