As injuries to starting pitchers around the league continue to mount, so do the number of phone calls that Phildelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro is getting about his star pitcher Cole Hamels.
What has changed in weeks past, besides the increasing in injuries, is the Phillies willingness to pay off some of Hamels' contract in a trade, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Sports.
"We are very open-minded," Amaro said. "We're not afraid to subsidize contracts. We never told a club that we would not absolutely subsidize his contract. That is not a realistic way to do business.
"If there's a deal to be made, and we have to subsidize part of it, we'll do it."
Hamels, 31, is owed $96 million through 2018. That does not include an option for 2019 that could make the contract worth $110 million.
Which teams could trade for Hamels?
Nightengale lists the St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox among potential suitors for Hamels.
The Cardinals lost Adam Wainwright for the season over the weekend. Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy tore his UCL and will also be out for the rest of the season. As a team the Boston Red Sox have the worst team ERA at 5.23.
All three are potential suitors for the Phillies ace, but Amaro and the front office still have their eyes on their top prospects:
If the Phillies are skeptical about whether the Cardinals have enough in their farm system to make a trade, there's no question the Dodgers and Red Sox have the pieces. Sure, Dodgers center fielder
Joc Pedersonisn't going anywhere. Neither is Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts. Yet both teams are loaded and have the type of prospects the Phillies badly covet.
It's still early in the season, but the Phillies and Ruben Amaro have found themselves in the driver's seat. Waiting too long could allow other big name pitchers like Johnny Cueto or Jeff Samardzija coming available as the season wears on. Right now the Phillies are in control, and can wait to look for right deal.