2:58pm: Philadelphia continues to ask for top catching prospect Blake Swihart from Boston, tweets Nightengale, with the Red Sox refusing to part with him in a deal for Hamels.
2:08pm: Though Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has said he expects Cole Hamels to open the season with his team, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports tweets that five or six clubs are still trying to get their hands on the Philadelphia ace. However, no team has yet come close to making an offer that would entice the Phillies to part with the 31-year-old lefty.
Last month, the Padres, Red Sox, Rangers and Cardinals were reported to be the most aggressive teams pursuing Hamels, but the Rangers may have bowed out of the picture following their acquisition of Yovani Gallardo. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports recently reported that the Padres have remained in touch on Hamels, though some feel they lack the talent needed to complete the deal.
The Phillies have been said to be asking for two “premium talents” in return for Hamels, likely in addition to other, lesser-regarded assets. Philadelphia has proven its willingness to deal away core veterans — Jimmy Rollins, in particular, was one of the club’s mainstays in its recent run of success — but has understandably set a high asking price for Hamels, who could always be held until the summer or even beyond.