By Mary Cunningham

Maybe Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. isn’t so dumb after all.

He sure looks like the slowest on the uptake exec in Philly — or he just plays one on TV.

But the Marlon Byrd trade could be the first domino to fall that leads to the trade of California Crunch Cole Hamels.

The Phillies got prospect Ben Lively, the Reds’ minor league player of the year; a good arm is a good thing, and Lively’s mix of low-90s heat with good command and promising off-speed stuff will be sure to put him close to the top of the Phillies’ prospect possibilities. That’s a decent haul for a team that’s rebuilding.

But the Byrd trade also opens an outfield slot where Padre-of-the-moment Wil Myers might fit very nicely should the Cole Hamels-to-San Diego rumor heat up again. Add in the Padres’ acquisition Tuesday of live-armed Mariners hurler Brandon Maurer, and you can see how Padres GM A.J. Preller is building a mound of talent from other people’s organizations that might provide an excellent package for the Phillies in return for Hamels — while also perhaps being able to hold on to the Padres’ top prospects, like Matt Wisler or Hunter Renfroe. Because if there’s one thing we seem to have learned about Preller in short order:

Like a baseball Godfather, he’ll find a way to make you an offer you can’t refuse.

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