Cole Hamels. (Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

Don't count on Cole Hamels coming to Red Sox (yet)

Rob Bradford
January 15, 2015 - 10:57 am

Remember a few years ago when Arizona was floating out Justin Upton in the offseason? He was the then-23-year-old, super-talented outfielder who had already put in two full seasons of star-level production. Upton also had just signed a six-year extension for $51.25 million, making him a reasonable investment all the way through the outfielder's 2015 season (when he would be 28 years old). No deal was done, with then-Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers asking for three significant players in return. Moral of that story: you never know unless you ask. It sure seems like this is the way things are trending in regards to the Phillies' approach to trading Cole Hamels. According to a source familiar with the Phillies' thinking on the matter, Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro and his club have been "unrealistic in their expectations" in regard to a return on Hamels. The Red Sox are still are keeping an eye on Hamels' availability, with a report from CSN Philly stating that the Rangers, Cardinals, Padres and Red Sox are the "primary suitors" for the lefty. It seems clear the Phillies won't deal Hamels unless they get the haul they're looking for, with the pitcher owed $96 million over the next four seasons. If the Red Sox make a move, Hamels would surely ask them to exercise the fifth year option -- pushing the deal up to $110 million -- since the Sox are on his no-trade list. Amaro has to hit a home run on this deal, and he knows it. That's why the asking price. But the caveat to waiting things out is any risk the Phillies run in regards to an injury to the 31-year-old. Hamels has been sturdy, making at least 30 starts in each of the last seven seasons, but as the Phillies learned in the Cliff Lee situation, such runs can easily come to an abrupt halt. The Red Sox are also in a position where they can let a more palatable deal come to them, with a collection starters the organization feels comfortable heading into spring training with. There are also a myriad of starters with one year left on their current deals, making the acquisition of such a frontline starter potentially more reasonable closer to the non-waiver trade deadline.