By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Remember when the Phillies used to just surprise us with giant contracts for top-flight pitchers? “We got Cliff Lee?! What?!” That does not seem like the case with Cole Hamels, as details seem to be leaking daily, if not more often.

First it was five years and $120 million.

Then it was six years and $130 million.

Now, it’s, intense.

The Philadelphia Phillies and Cole Hamels’ agent, John Boggs, have picked up the pace of discussions in recent days, sources said, and those intensified discussions are an indication the Phillies have started a major push to sign Hamels before the July 31 trade deadline.

Meanwhile, clubs that have been speaking with the Phillies say the team has essentially put trade talks on hold, and have been much more focused on signing the 28-year-old left-hander than on dealing him before the deadline.

“They want to sign him, and that’s their priority,” said an official of one club that spoke with the Phillies’ brass this week. “They’re really not even entertaining (trade) offers at this point.”

via Sources: Cole Hamels talks intensify by Jayson Stark on ESPN

Any guesses as to what the final number is? Perhaps they can sign him with intensity alone. Let us know in the comments.

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