A little while ago, the Phillies's Cole Hamels publicly told management that no matter who he was playing for at the end of the season, he would still give the Phillies the first option to re-sign him at the end of the season. The message was unmistakable - trade me for some talent and I'll come back in the off season. However, other teams got the message too, so he didn't have much trade value. Then the story shifted to how they could not reach a deal and how he likely would be a free agent. Now the report appears to be that Cole Hamels and the Phillies appear to be close to a deal
. There's still the issue of the luxury tax, which could hit them in the next season or two.
On the other hand, the team has the big dilemma of sell or buy after going 4-2 on the last road trip. Basically, they did well enough to show promise but not enough to realistically make the playoffs:
That's why a 4-2 road trip added more thorns to Amaro's already tough situation. Had the Phillies gone 2-4 or 1-5 and fallen further back in the wild-card race, it would have been easy for the general manager to field and accept the best offer for Victorino right now.
And if the Phillies had gone 5-1 or 6-0, the best-case scenario of gaining ground would have Amaro and the front office enthusiastic about keeping the core together and adding immediate bullpen help.
Instead, things remained status quo.
"I think [Amaro] knows how a lot of guys feel," Halladay said. "He knows we want to keep Cole and Victorino. As a player, there are certain lines that you don't cross. He understands you want to win and you want to have the guys here to do that, but by the same token he is the GM and I'm a player and I respect his position."
Nobody, however, envies the spot Ruben Amaro Jr. is in right now.