Phillies listening to multiple teams on Hamels

Rangers, Dodgers remain frontrunners, with Giants reportedly intensifying efforts

Phillies listening to multiple teams on Hamels

TORONTO -- Jonathan Papelbon is headed to the Nationals, but what about Cole Hamels?

Sources told MLB.com on Tuesday that Hamels is expected to be traded before Friday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, although nothing is imminent. But the Phillies moved Hamels' scheduled start from Thursday to Friday, which erases any risk of a freak injury and allows the acquiring team to pitch him almost immediately.

The Phillies would not have bumped Hamels if they did not hope to trade him. ESPN.com reported the Phillies have told teams to make their best offers for Hamels by Wednesday.

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"I guess I'm pretty valuable to them right now," Hamels said with a smile before Tuesday night's 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. "I understand. It's OK. I just do what they tell me to do. But I understand them. I guess if I were in their position, I'd do the same thing, too."

The Rangers and Dodgers remain the frontrunners for Hamels, but a source told MLB.com on Tuesday that the Giants have escalated their efforts. San Francisco has the financial flexibility to facilitate a trade, although it is difficult to see how they will come up with the prospects to satisfy the Phillies. The Astros also have emerged as a suitor. FOXSports.com reported that Phillies scout Charley Kerfeld scouted Houston's Double-A affiliate on Tuesday.

Phillies president Pat Gillick leans heavily on Kerfeld's opinions, so the fact he has been watching Texas' and Houston's Double-A affiliates this week is worth noting.

Sources said the Yankees, Cubs and D-backs also have expressed interest in Hamels.

But the Rangers continue to make the most sense for the Phillies because they like the young power hitters in their farm system.

Hamels can block trades to 20 teams, but he cannot block trades to the Rangers, Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs, Nationals, Cardinals, Braves, Padres and Mets. But there are more hurdles to clear than just the no-trade list. First, the Phillies need to get some prospects they like, preferably power hitters. Second, there is Hamels' salary.

Hamels will be paid $22.5 million each of the next three seasons, which includes a $6 million buyout on a 2019 club option worth $20 million.

"We've had really fluid conversations with a bunch of teams on a variety of players," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a news conference in Philadelphia.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.