As the Astros have continued to win games, they've increasingly been mentioned as a landing spot for Cole Hamels and other highly sought after players. They're no longer the bottom dwellers that we've come to know them as, but that's apparently not enough to convince Hamels to allow Ruben Amaro to send him to Houston.
Source tells @BobAllenKHOU that Phillies LHP Cole Hamels has blocked (for now) any possible trade to #Astros. Rangers & Yankees are in play— Daniel Gotera (@DTGoteraKHOU) June 22, 2015
Despite boasting a lot of controllable talent that should allow the Astros to compete for the foreseeable future, including the recently promoted über prospect Carlos Correa, Hamels apparently does not want to find himself pitching for Houston. This doesn't come as a complete surprise however, as someone close to him said earlier in this process that he wasn't sure if Hamels would be willing to accept a trade to the Astros.
Interestingly enough, according to the same source, he would be willing to accept a trade to the Rangers, even though they're in the same division, as well as the same state, and are 5.5 games behind the Astros. Hamels would also be willing to pitch for the Yankees, who could desperately use an ace to lead their team. With the neighborhood elbow watch constantly set on Masahiro Tanaka's right arm, and CC Sabathia proving to be ineffective, they need a pitcher that they can count on; and Hamels certainly fits that bill.
His contract gives him the ability to block a trade to 20 teams in total, and while we can make some educated guesses at who's on the list, the only one we know for sure of at this moment is the Astros. This is unfortunate news for Houston, but at the very least, this will allow them to focus on more attainable pitchers like Johnny Cueto or Scott Kazmir. Hamels would have been a fantastic addition the Astros' growing stable of valuable players, but it looks like it's time for them to move on.