There are reasons to want to see Hamels pitch at least one more time. He has a 19.89 ERA in his last two starts. But the Phillies do not think Hamels needs to dominate Saturday to alleviate any potential concerns of pursuers like the Dodgers, Rangers, Cubs, Red Sox and Astros.
The Phillies quickly mention Hamels' track record. He has a 3.09 ERA from 2010-15, which ranks eighth out of 101 qualified pitchers in baseball, and he is a proven postseason performer.
"He needs to pitch like Cole," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday. "He's been pitching close to 10 years. They know what he is."
Of course, it only would make sense for opposing general managers to use Hamels' recent struggles as a bargaining tool.
Boy, Ruben, we can't give up these prospects when we've seen Cole pitch so poorly lately.
"Then don't trade for him," Amaro said. "I think if the shoe were on the other foot and we were in pursuit of players, our biggest concern would be health. Do we see something mechanically? Do we see something different? If we saw something alarming, it would be different."
The Phillies have told teams they could wait to trade Hamels (and others) until the offseason, but more starting pitchers will be available in the winter as free agents. Hamels is signed through 2018 at $22.5 million per season with a $20 million club option for 2019. The deal includes a $6 million buyout.
"You think anybody is going to sign a three, plus one of the ilk of Hamels?" Amaro said. "Do you think [David] Price will do a three-year deal? I would think not, based on what the marketplace has done for some other guys. You're looking at five, six, seven, eight years. What did [Clayton] Kershaw get? Seven years? We have a contract that is locked in at three, plus one. So, yeah, I've been under no mandate to move any of these players. The mandate from our ownership group and Pat [Gillick] is 'Make good deals.' That's the goal."
Jonathan Papelbon, Ben Revere and Jeff Francoeur continue to receive interest. Chase Utley is on the disabled list, but he could begin a rehab assignment soon. Sources indicated there could be some interest from the Angels, who are looking for a left-handed bat.
"We've had pretty significant dialogue the past couple weeks about things," Amaro said. "I think things will continue to heat up, yeah.
"I believe that it's clear that clubs have needs and have been aggressive. It doesn't mean anything will get done, but there's been some aggressiveness. Listen, we have some players that are desirable. And so I would fully expect them to be aggressive, because we've kind of opened up the doors to allow them to discuss them. We've been open-minded from last October on."