By Sam Bush

Trading Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels is starting to look like a pipedream for Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

With just five weeks left until pitchers and catchers report around the league for spring training, the Phillies still remain intent on dealing both Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels (celebrating the World Series victory in 2008 in photo above).

According to CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury, they were more willing to trade Howard than Hamels, if forced to choose. Here is what he wrote last Wednesday:

“Over the next five weeks, the Phillies will continue to dangle Howard to American League clubs that might need a designated hitter. It’s well known that the Phillies are willing to eat a chunk of the $60 million that remains on Howard’s contract and the size of that chunk could grow as spring training and the reality of an uncomfortable clubhouse situation becomes closer. Amaro has been adamant in saying that the Phillies will not release Howard, but it’s worth noting that the possibility of doing that has been discussed for some time.

“Unlike Howard, the Phillies are not looking to move on from Hamels and they are not necessary enthusiastic about the possibility. However, as they stare at a rebuilding process that will likely keep them out of contention for at least the next couple of seasons, the Phillies know that dealing Hamels might be the best way to expedite the rebuilding process.”

Howard, as Salisbury notes, would make sense for an AL club who could use him as a DH, and therefore likely get more out of him on offense in turn. He has battled injuries in recent years while having to play first base in the NL.

Howard also released a list of teams he would allow a trade to and all of them were in the AL. It may just come down to the Phillies budging on their asking price, as their offer to pay some of his money has to have teams calling to inquire.

Hamels, on the other hand, would require an even larger return to pry away from Philly, as he is still productive. The Phillies are likely holding out for top of the line prospects before they let go of him.

The Phillies already began their rebuild by shipping Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers in December. We’ll see if they can continue that process before spring training begins.


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