Updated at 12:20 p.m. Friday: The trade is now official.
Once they say they want to leave, it is time for them to go.
That was true when Curt Schilling said he wanted out of Philadelphia in 1997, and then again every year until he finally was traded to Arizona on July 26, 2000.
It was true when Scott Rolen started grumbling about ownership's unwillingness to spend for quality players during Terry Francona's final year as Phillies manager in 2000.
It was true when Jonathan Papelbon let it be known that "I definitely didn't come here for this" two summers ago, and it was true again in February when Cole Hamels kicked off spring training with the infamous declaration that "I just want to win … and I know it's not going to happen here."
Once they want out, the best thing you can do is let them go, which is what the Phillies did with Papelbon on Tuesday by trading him to Washington and with Hamels on Friday when he was traded with Jake Diekman and cash considerations to the Texas Rangers for Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher, Matt Harrison and Jake Thompson.
All four mentioned players were stars, and all four had some legitimate gripes about the organization, although Papelbon's motive for coming to Philadelphia was more about money than winning. Only after he got a taste of consistently being on a bad team did he realize that the cash could not buy happiness.
Hamels, for his part, lived the dream during most of his 13 seasons with the organization. Winning was the only thing he knew from 2006 through 2011, so when general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. assured him three years ago that he'd do everything he could to keep the good times rolling, Hamels asked to see the dotted line and signed on it. The $144 million over six years was enough even if he could have signed for more on the free-agent market.
More than the pitcher's mound, however, went downhill from there. Consecutive 73-89 seasons forced the Phillies to acknowledge finally that it was time for a rebuild, and Hamels took that as his cue to want out. You can't blame him for feeling that way after being told the Phillies would always try to contend.
The second-best lefthander in franchise history should not have told USA Today his feelings before spring training, but to his credit, he went about being a decent teammate immediately after that.
That, of course, was in stark contrast to Papelbon, who had a poisonous clubhouse presence that one baseball source recently told me was a big part of the reason Ryne Sandberg resigned as manager. If you do not think that's important, you know nothing about clubhouse chemistry.
That is why it is time for players to go when they say they want to leave.
Even though Papelbon continued to perform as one of the best closers in baseball and Hamels remained an elite starter right up to his unforgettable final start in a Phillies uniform, it is not good for the whole team when some of the parts are moaning when they are not pitching.
That is the reason Eagles coach Chip Kelly has made some of the moves that have left us scratching our heads in the last two years. Right or wrong, he wants everyone moving in the same direction. Malcontents, in his mind, are distractions that can create problems in a locker room or clubhouse.
That's what the Phillies faced with Papelbon for nearly two years before he was traded to the Nationals on Tuesday, and a similar problem likely would have grown with Hamels the longer he remained here.
So the Phillies got what they perceived were the best prospects they could for the two men, and they have moved on. As this space stated earlier in the week, the team's next move should be to sign another staff ace this off-season among the long list of quality free agents who will be out there.