Astros Rumors: Houston targeting trade for Phillies SP Cole Hamels?

The Houston Astros have shown willingness to make waves in the free agent market this offseason. However, they could save the biggest wave for a blockbuster trade here in the near future.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Astros can't be counted out if the Philadelphia Phillies are truly sold on trading starting pitcher Cole Hamels before Opening Day of the 2015 MLB season.

Per Cafardo, "the Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, and Rangers are interested in Hamels. The sleeper team is the aggressive Astros. The Giants may be in if they can’t get James Shields."

With all the work that the Astros have done on their bullpen during the Hot Stove League this winter, adding a front-of-the-line rotation piece such as Hamels (with years of team control) could be the next step in pushing Houston into playoff contention. Hamels would have to waive his no-trade clause, but appears willing to do so if the right opportunity presents itself.

Hamels finished 9-9 in 2014 with a 2.46 ERA, 198/59 K/BB ratio, and 1.148 WHIP in 204.2 innings pitched. He is currently owed $90 million over the next four years, with a $20 million club option (or $24 million vesting option) in 2019.

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