Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported last night that while the Phillies have been entertaining offers and talking with..."/> Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported last night that while the Phillies have been entertaining offers and talking with..."/>

Report: Phillies Trying to Keep Cole Hamels Long-Term

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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported last night that while the Phillies have been entertaining offers and talking with other teams about Cole Hamels, the club’s first priority is to keep the 28-year old lefty long-term.  As

Heyman points out, it won’t be easy considering the Phillies position in the standings, Hamels’ desire to go back west, and the number of teams interested.

Hamels is making $15 million this year and becomes a free agent at the end of the season.  Teams looking to trade for him will either be making the deal to use Hamels as a half-season rental, or they are willing to sign him to an extension.  There’s no middle ground here because of the lack of draft pick compensation for the new team should Hamels walk in free agency.

Yet, the Phillies, no matter what Ruben Amaro has said publicly, does not seem intent on keeping Hamels.  They have two aging pitchers in Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, and then they have Hamels.  He’s younger, has less mileage on his arm, and is improving with every year that goes by.

"“Since we are built on pitching, and have had success with it, having those three guys are essential, if possible.”"

The Phillies front office may not think it is possible.  Teams like the Dodgers, the Angels, and the Rangers have been rumored to be interested in Hamels.  The return on such a trade is the big question for the Phillies and it’s not clear what these teams are willing to give up.  Similar to teams who are interested in Zack Greinke, a deal for Hamels must be weighed against the long-term goals of the club.  Giving up high-level prospects for a player to help during a stretch run might not be the best business move.  This may be the only reason the Phillies would entertain the idea of bringing Hamels back – because they can’t get a decent return.

However, no matter the case, Hamels is one of the hottest trade targets this July.  He, Greinke, Matt Garza, and Ryan Dempster have been the most talked-about pitchers on the market.  Expect that to continue through the end of the month.

For more on the Phillies, be sure to check out That Ball’s Outta Here