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MLB NL Trade Deadline Rumors and Facts
by John Ryan

There has been news released by John Heyman, baseball insider at CBSsports.com, that the Phillies are making calls to gauge trade interest for Cole Hamels. This really hasnít been any new revelation, but now that it is fully confirmed, it is only a matter of time that a trade is completed.

Hamels is going to command top dollar in the free agent market and may even get close to the money given to C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees. In Spring Training, the Phillies, specifically GM Ruben Amaro, Jr., stated that signing Hamels was top priority. Well, it is not July 2, 2012 and there has been no deal completed to make Hamels a lifetime Philly and the team is on pace to lose 90 games.

Injuries have taken a huge toll on the Phillies this season. Chase Utley has just come back to the starting lineup with a chronic knee ailment. Ryan Howard, who tore his achilles on the last play of the 2011 NLDS is nearing a return. Ace starting pitcher, Roy Halladay, has been out for the past month with an oblique/shoulder injury. Reliever Antonio Bastardo is not injuries, but his incredibly poor late inning relief pitching has hurt the Phillies immeasurably this season. So, the Phillies have become a General Hospital of MLB, but decisions, and tough ones at that, need to be made in the weeks ahead.

Oh, by the way, Cliff Lee is winless with an 0-5 record. The Phillies are nine games under .500 at the mathematical midway point of the 162 game season. Yet, they are 7 Ĺ games out of the wild card race, but have to jump over eight teams over the remaining 81 games. Only Houston, Colorado, San Diego, and the Cubs, have worse season records than the Phillies.

In April, I went on record speculating that the Phillies would be making a heavy bid for Mets third baseman David Wright to bolster the offense and add some valuable defense to the position come the July trade deadline. I had incorrectly predicted that the Phillies would be leading or contending for the division lead and also for the best record in the National league. It is the Mets, however, that are the ones likely to be buyers this month trailing Washington by 3 Ĺ games.

First, I do not believe the Phillies management is going to give up on the season. Not with Ryan Howard nearing a return and Roy halladay recovering ahead of schedule. They have a very interesting situation in Hamels that has the potential to set the stage for the Phillies to continue contending for years to come. Hamels is an elite left-handed starting pitcher, but letís not overlook the fact that he has never won more than 15 games in a season and has never won the Cy Young. So, the Phillies are in a very strong dealing position that will command a wealth of talent in return.

The Phillies are also loaded in the minors with some very strong pitching talent. So, strong, that there are four starters coined the baby aces, so do the Phillies would be looking more toward three of four top offensive prospects and if one of them can play second base, all the better. In an optimistic way, the Phillies can reduce their team salary significantly and acquire some very real talent in return for a trade involving Hamels. At the same time, they remain contenders and can still make a run for the Wild Card. It may not be popular among Philly fans, but in my opinion, it is the right thing to do for the team. Amaro has shown he is a very aggressive GM and I think that will serve this team very well in the weeks ahead.

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