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Cliff Lee Trade Rumors: Rangers Prefer Lee To Cole Hamels

Here we go -- again. After signing Cole Hamels to a mega deal, the Philadelphia Phillies are likely a little strapped for cash. So strapped that they may consider listening to offers on co-ace Cliff Lee, and "rival executives" believe that the Phillies will be compelled to listen to offers on Lee. Again.

Per FOX Sports:

Rival team officials believe Amaro has little choice but to at least explore the market for Lee, who has three years and $87.5 million left on his contract after this season. Given the Phillies' high payroll and poor performance this season, the opportunity to save money - and acquire a low-cost replacement of comparable ability - appears too enticing to pass up.

Lee's contract will be an obstacle in all trade talks. Lee will make $25 million a year starting next year through 2015, before making $12.5 million in 2016.

FOX's report also contained this important information as well:

Texas GM Jon Daniels is believed to prefer Lee to Hamels; after all, Daniels offered Lee well more than $100 million as a free agent two offseasons ago. The Rangers would be more likely to trade minor league third baseman Mike Olt for Lee, than a two-month rental such as Milwaukee's Zack Greinke.

Lee can block a trade to 21 teams -- but the Rangers are not one of those teams.

Earlier this week, I wrote about Lee's potential availability and his fit in Texas. After Colby Lewis' injury, Lee to the Rangers makes even more sense, especially in conjunction with the $140 million dollar deal Cole Hamels just landed.

We'll see what happens in the next week, but it's certainly something to keep an eye on going forward.

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