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Red Sox prepared to trade for Cole Hamels

The Red Sox have a thriving farm system, one that will be feeding them heartily in the coming years. Centerfielder Mookie Betts came up at the end of this past season and had an immediate effect on a dead team, hitting .291 with an .812 OPS in 213 PA. Catcher Christian Vazquez showed stellar defense and promising offense in his time in the Majors this year, and the Phillies have no heir apparent to Carlos Ruiz yet. There are plenty of youngsters other teams crave and the Red Sox don't want to part with - Jackie Bradley, Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Rusney Castillo, Blake Swihart, etc.

The list goes on, but then reality sets in. The Sox have been prickly about possibly overpaying for Hamels in a potential deal, but on the Phillies' side, Ruben Amaro has said he would be looking for "three top prospects" in exchange for Hamels. If the Red Sox were to ever come around, they would have to meet him somewhere very close to that range (a range in which they have already "shot down" multiple trade proposals).

According to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, they are prepared.

However, the aforementioned rejected offers by the Red Sox are rumored to include either Bogaerts or Betts, and Edes goes on to say that the Phillies wouldn't "insist" on Swihart in a trade, either. So who exactly are they gunning for?

It was reported earlier today that the Red Sox see Hamels as more of a back-up plan for (or supplement to) acquiring free agent Jon Lester, and the trade necessary to get Hamels is seen as more costly to their future.

On Monday afternoon, talks with Lester were said to be winding down, with the Giants viewed as the frontrunners to sign him but the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cubs are in hot pursuit. He is said to be lusting after a $150 million, seven-year deal.