The Phillies are underway their pursuit for starting pitching.  With Drew Smyly a free agent and the option of Jason Vargas declined, the Phillies find themselves once again in need of left-handed started pitching.  The Phillies appear to be looking.

Madison Bumgarner:

Meanwhile, another left-handed free agent pitcher apparently has set his price. Jayson Stark of the Athletic reported what it would cost to sign 
Cole Hamels

The agent for Hamels, John Boggs, says 14 teams have inquired about him, in another Stark tweet.

It's probably true that the J.A. Happ deal is a good indicator of what Hamels should expect at his age.  Happ and Hamels put up similar numbers heading into free agency.  The one wild card is the health of Hamels, who was slowed by a strained oblique last season.  His agent argues that his numbers would have been better if not rushed back from injury.

The Phillies will have to be willing to pay asking prices this offseason.  Last offseason the Phillies passed on Happ and Patrick Corbin due to the high cost.  But the Phillies, who appear wary of trading prospects or giving up draft picks, have no recourse but to spend.  The Competitive Balance Tax, or "luxury tax" as it is nicknamed, could be a deterrent, should the Phillies be unable to move some money.

However, Phillies owner John Middleton has said he would exceed the threshold for the right player.

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