The Phillies once believed that they could contend this year, but the confidence of the five-time defending NL East winners seems to have dwindled, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com writes. Now Phillies people say things like "you don't know if a team is just going to blow you out of the water" for a player of Cole Hamels’ caliber. Here’s the latest on Hamels, who would arguably be the top available pitcher if the Phillies put him on the market:
- People who know Hamels believe him when he says he likes Philadelphia, Knobler reports. "I've had no indication that he doesn't want to be here," GM Ruben Amaro told Knobler. Hamels’ contract expires after the season and he'd presumably command a contract of at least five years for $20MM-plus per season on the open market.
- The Phillies won't trade Hamels before trying to sign him to a long-term deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. They have discussed Hamels with other teams but would prefer to keep him. "Since we are built on pitching, and have had success with it, having those three guys are essential, if possible,'' Amaro said in reference to Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.
- The Rangers watched Hamels’ start last night, Knobler adds.