Phils preparing an official offer for Hamels

The Phillies are starting the second-half of their season on the field Friday night in Colorado. They may also be starting - or ending - a major chapter in their history off the field with an offer to Cole Hamels.

As the Cole Hamels debate drags on, the Phillies are prepared to offer Hamels a "substantial" contract according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.

Stark notes that while the Phillies have never gone past five guaranteed seasons on a pitcher's contract, they may do so with their offer to Hamels, but that some members of the Phillies' front office aren't convinced they should go past five years. Last December, the Phillies gave Cliff Lee a five-year deal with a team option for a sixth season.

It's thought that the offer will have to be six years and in the range of $24 million per season in order for Hamels to accept the offer and stay out of the free agent market. Stark quoted a teammate and friend of Hamels as saying "If Cole has his way, he'll wait until the end of the year, go out there and see what he's worth and then ask the Phillies, 'OK, what do YOU think I'm worth?' "

It's thought that if Hamels does reject the offer, the Phillies will then look to trade him in order to get prospects in exchange for him, rather than risking having him sign elsewhere during the offseason and getting draft pick compensation for him.

During the all-star break, Hamels told the media that he "would always put the Phillies at the top of my list."

The Texas Rangers have put themselves at the front of the line for the opportunity to acquire Hamels, but there are thought to be other clubs lining up for the opportunity to add him to their rotation. The Dodgers, Tigers, Red Sox and Cardinals are all thought to have strong interest in Hamels and NL Central Division rivals Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are thought to have interest, but to not be as strongly interested as other clubs.

Premium readers can find out why trading Hamels might be the best approach for the Phillies and who the Rangers might offer in exchange in our recent article on What to do with Cole Hamels. If you're not a premium subscriber, get information on how you can become a premium subscriber with our no risk offer. You'll also find out about the many benefits of subscribing.

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