The Texas Rangers remain the favorite to land Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels if Philadelphia decides to trade their ace, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.
Talked to more officials today who believe that if the Phillies trade Cole Hamels, the favorite will be the Rangers.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 9, 2012
While it’s no sure thing that Hamels will be traded this summer, what is a given is that he is in the final year of his contract. If he doesn’t work out an extension with the Phillies, or the team they potentially trade him to, Hamels will hit the free agent market following the season.
Hamels continues to say that he wouldn’t mind signing a long-term extension with the Phillies, though that was likely much more appealing entering the 2012 season than midway through it. Philadelphia enters the All-Star break with a record of 37-50.
Despite their disappointing season, Hamels acknowledged that even the best teams have a "hiccup" now and again, when speaking with Leslie Gudel of CSNPhilly.com, especially when "you lose your 3- and 4-hole hitter and obviously the best pitcher in the game of baseball."
When asked specifically about the prospects of signing the Dodgers, Hamels said that pitching on the West Coast would "appeal" to him, and that he considers LA as "the closest home team" he would ever get to. Still, what seems to be most important for Hamels is signing with a team that has winning as their highest priority.
"As long as the teams winning it doesn’t matter how long you’re there. If you know they’re going to be [winning] for eight years you want to be there for eight years, if you know they’re going to win for two years, you want to be there for two years. So, the years, I think it’s ultimately up to the organization as to how much they want to win, because you don’t want to be with an organization for five, six, seven years and they’re only going to win for two of them."
Which team will Hamels be pitching for next season?