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Cole Hamels Trade Rumors: Philadelphia Phillies Preparing To Offer Long-Term Extension

The Cole Hamels story has taken a new twist, as the Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly preparing a 'substantial' offer to their home-grown lefty ace, at least according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.

Needless to say, Hamels' decision on whether or not to accept the offer will shape the July 31 trade market. If Hamels accepts, he'll obviously remain with the Phillies, and thus, driving the price of Zack Greinke up ever so slightly, as he'll become the only true ace available.

However, if Hamels declines whatever offer the Phillies make, Philadelphia will almost certainly look to trade him and build toward 2013 and beyond.

Texas' interest in Hamels is quite apparent. Philadelphia executives and scouts recently attended one of Hickory's games -- Texas' SAL affiliate. Though they won't come out and say it, it's clear that the Rangers are looking to improve the rotation by adding a top of the rotation starter.

It's unknown who the Phillies would target, but third base prospect Mike Olt will likely be a popular name this July. We'll see if Jon Daniels decides to hang onto Olt, or dangle him out there to land an ace.

For the latest Rangers news and discussion, check out Lone Star Ball.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.