Cole Hamels and the remaining pitching options

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Trade for Cole Hamels

Sep 28, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Long connected in trade rumors with the Red Sox, the former World Series MVP and current Phillies ace would look mighty fine as a Lester replacement. The similarities between the two pitchers are notable, and other than some concerns about his transition to the American League he seems like a terrific fit in Boston given his success in the regular season and playoffs, his clean bill of health and a contract that is big but cheaper than Lester and equal to what 33 year old James Shields is seeking.

If Cole Hamels doesn’t require the Red Sox to pick up his 5th year option (full disclosure: he almost certainly will), then he will be cheaper and two years younger than Shields. But impeding this match is general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and his insistence that Boston include either Betts or Blake Swihart. The two star prospects are supposedly untouchable so it is possible that a Hamels to the Red Sox deal may never get done.

But it is also possible Philadelphia will lower their demands. Aside from a rumored interest from the Padres, it has been mostly quiet on the Hamels front this winter. If Amaro does lower his asking price, Boston is in the best position to help replenish a questionable Philly farm system.