There are a lot of moving parts to these Winter Meetings, and supposedly, you can factor the Phillies into a few of them. But Ruben Amaro wants to keep things quiet, and has retreated into the background of some of the more blockbuster rumors.
Nobody wants to talk about a declining team finally trying to rebuild with frantic shoulder shrugs in response to questions like "Who is even in charge?" They want to talk about exciting teams making sexy moves. The Cubs are pulling the rip cord! The Padres are involved with anything! Meanwhile, the Phillies might do one thing, or they might do another. One detail is that these things often involve Cole Hamels.
Hamels' agent, however, reminds us that the ace and his no-trade clause may not necessarily want to leave Philadelphia.
"[Hamels' agent John Boggs] said Hamels has 'conflict' because the Phillies are the only team he has known and the lefty likes playing there, but Philadelphia is now in a rebuilding posture."
It's the same we've heard all along; Amaro isn't sure he wants to trade Hamels, and Hamels is up for whatever. It would likely depend on the deal in question, which according to Ken Rosenthal, could involve the Red Sox being even more conniving than usual.
Pulling Lester back into the fold after trading him for Yoenis Cespedes would be cruel enough to the A's, who would have to watch the ace that did not help them go deep in the playoffs return to Boston, and not even get Cespedes back as some sort of consolation prize.
But for the Red Sox to go after both is an intriguing and horrifying concept that would give Boston the best top two starters in the AL East by far. They would just have to come around to letting go of some prospects that they perhaps hadn't wanted to trade. A handful of them if possible – Hamels has been chronically undervalued in some circles this offseason.
Amaro has stated that his priority at the Winter Meetings is starting pitching, so with that in mind, swapping out Hamels could not be in the cards. That at least gives us a clue as to his mindset, and remember, the Phillies don't lie, as Amaro explained in 2012.