"If I were to handicap it, I'd say no," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said about any trades happening before Spring Training. "But it's hard to tell. One phone call can change things dramatically."
The Phils have been talking with the Brewers and Blue Jays about Papelbon, but nothing is close.
"We still have dialogue," Amaro said. "It's not limited to one team. That's all I can tell you."
There are challenges with trading any of the Phillies' veterans. Hamels is owed nearly $100 million, plus the Phils will not move him unless they get at least one coveted prospect. They do not want to repeat the mistakes they made when they traded Cliff Lee to the Mariners in December 2009. Philadelphia received three prospects in that deal, but none have panned out and only one remains with the organization.
Papelbon is owed $13 million this season, plus a potential $13 million more in 2016 if a club option vests with 48 games finished. Howard, meanwhile, is owed $60 million.
Lee will remain untradeable until he proves he is healthy. He finished last season on the disabled list because of an injured left elbow.
Chase Utley might be the easiest of the bunch to trade, but he has 10-and-5 no-trade rights and has been reluctant to waive them.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.