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By Spike Eskin
PHILLIES (CBS) – The question of whether the Phillies will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline may have just been answered CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman is reporting that the team is willing to trade Cole Hamels, and are making calls to other teams to determine his value.
Hamels is a free agent after the year, and a source with knowledge of his contractual situation said there has been no progress made in contract talks.
The Phillies are struggling through an injury-riddled first half. They traded Jim Thome to the Orioles on Saturday, but the team suggested that didn’t mark the end of the sell-off.
The Phillies may just be gauging early interest in Hamels or getting talks started in case their struggles continue. Chase Utley recently returned from injury, and they are awaiting returns for two more stars, Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay. It’s hard to imagine them giving up contending this early, so it’s very likely they are laying the groundwork for the possibility of a trade before the July 31 trade deadline.
The Phillies are said to be seeking at least three good young pieces for Hamels, one of the best lefthanded starters in the game. Shane Victorino is another Phillie free agent who’s most likely available, as well.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro declined immediate comment.
The Phillies were thought to have interest in retaining Hamels, who is 10-4 with a 3.08 ERA, and it isn’t known whether that hope has changed based on any new information. The Dodgers have been seen as a major threat to sign Hamels as a free agent.
The Phillies suggested a contract extension along the lines of Jered Weaver’s deal with the Angels (about $85 million for five years) near the end of last season. It is believed Hamels is interested in a longer deal, perhaps one closer to CC Sabathia’s $161-million, seven-year contract with the Yankees.
Via Sources: Phillies Put Star Left-Hander Cole Hamels On Trade Market on cbssports.com
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal also said the Phillies have made Hamels available.
After being swept by the Marlins in Miami, the Phillies have fallen to 36-45. They’re 11 games behind the NL East leading Nationals, and eight games behind the second Wild Card spot. They also trail 4th place Miami by 3.5 games. It hasn’t been pretty, to say the least.
Hamels was named to the 2012 National League All-Star team, while Victorino was named to the 2011 National League All-Star team.
Do you think the Phillies should trade Hamels and Victorino? Let us know in the comments.