4:10pm: A few weeks ago the Phillies called around to suggest they might be open to discussing trades involving Hamels and Victorino, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). One executive says teams wouldn't have wanted to approach the Phillies about their star players at this time because it could be perceived as an insult.
8:04am: In anticipation of possible midseason trades, the Blue Jays have asked the Phillies about left-hander Cole Hamels and center fielder Shane Victorino, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Though GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has said the Phillies could become sellers and Hamels and Victorino are on track for free agency this offseason, no deal is close or likely.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos asks about other teams’ star players regularly, but there’s a difference between due diligence and serious trade talks. The Blue Jays have reportedly inquired on Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda, Gio Gonzalez, Jose Reyes, Alex Gordon and others under Anthopoulos without acquiring any of those players. Meanwhile, Amaro told Rosenthal that he needs to be mindful of the Phillies’ short and long-term goals.
“I can’t shut any doors down,” he said, without addressing specific trade scenarios. “You try to be creative. And there are a lot of creative GMs out there who have different goals.”
Amaro said he doesn’t expect to be a seller this summer. Yet he’s realistic and acknowledges he may have to take on a new role at the upcoming trade deadline. The Phillies have traded for Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence leading up to recent trade deadlines.
It's not surprising that Anthopoulos would inquire on Hamels and Victorino in my view. We know the Blue Jays check in on players routinely and there's no harm in starting dialogue early. This is a juicy rumor that tells us something about the respective styles of the GMs involved, but it doesn't mean a trade is brewing.