Jayson Stark of ESPN.com is reporting that contract negotiations between the Phillies and free agent-to-be pitcher Cole Hamels are intensifying, with the Phillies now conceding that a six year contract will be necessary to keep the left hander in red pinstripes for the foreseeable future.
Maybe it's just me, but this is what I found the most interesting in Stark's piece, linked above:
Although the Phillies' payroll is approaching the $178 million luxury-tax threshold (and actually may already have exceeded it), the club believes it can find a way to sign Hamels and stay under the threshold in 2013 and beyond, a source said.
To do that, the Phillies likely would have to trade away at least one veteran player and possibly more. Other teams say they've been significantly more interested in discussing potential deals for players such as Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco and even Jimmy Rollins than they have for Hamels.
"Other teams say" is really not definitive, but there's more and more smoke on the Jimmy Rollins trade block talk. Yecch.