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Say hey, baseball: Cole Hamels is officially available to trade

Monday morning's baseball sees the official start of the Cole Hamels Trade Machine, the Yankees getting younger, and a 20-year-old trade.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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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.