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Padres pinned as front-runners for Cole Hamels

Despite the distribution of some of the Padres' biggest prospects, San Diego has kept their farm's cream of the crop. This puts them in the most-likely-to-land-a-trade seat on the Phillies' play-hard-to-get dating show.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN's Jim Bowden, as of now the most likely competition or the Padres in the landing of Hamels would be Boston, with both the Red Sox and Pads having the most plentiful resource of desirable prospects.

With centerfielder Mookie Betts and catcher Christian Vazquez pulling for the Red Sox. The Sox also have pieces in the form of Xander Bogaerts, Rusney Castillo, Blake Swihart, and Jackie Bradley Jr.

The Friar's, Hunter Renfroe, Austin Hedges, and Matt Wisler with the optional Rymer Liriano thrown in would mean both teams would without a doubt have to part with their young stars in an all-or-nothing deal. Whether or not either team budges with their "top three" will determine if a trade goes anywhere past just-speculation.

Made clear by some rather disturbing trade speculation, the Phillies are asking for an incredulous return. As heard from A.J. Preller; if San Diego were to propose a trade anything like that, including one or more members of our starting pitching rotation as well as all of our top prospects, the Phillies would still most likely respond with a "We'll have to think about it."

Having the chips to be "front-runners" for Hamels is one thing, but the Phillies offering a trade with a reasonable return for the Padres or Red Sox seems to be completely out of reach, and becomes more of a battle of who is willing to overpay.

UPDATE 1/20: Reinforcing all of this, on Tuesday Amaro said to the Philadelphia Inquirer: "I don’t really foresee him being moved." and "if we were to move him, we’re going to have to get some of the best prospects in baseball back."