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Yankees were the closest team to acquiring Cole Hamels

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It's no surprise that the Yankees would look into acquiring Cole Hamels at some point this season. He's on a Phillies team that desperately needs to shed payroll, he's probably their best movable piece, and the Yankees currently have Chris Capuano written in as their fifth starter. The only thing holding a trade back would be Hamels' exorbitant contract–$94 million over the next four years with a $20 team option/$24 million vesting option for 2019–and the prospects that Ruben Amaro will surely demand from any team.

When a player's high cost is in both money and personnel, teams get a little hesitant, which is likely why the Red Sox balked at the proposed package of top catching prospect Blake Swihart and prized talent Mookie Betts. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Phillies were also in talks with the Rangers, Padres, and Yankees the most and, according to a source, the Yankees were the closest to acquiring Hamels.

It's hard to say who the Yankees offered, but a package that included, say, Gary Sanchez and Rob Refsnyder would be closest in matching the trade that Boston turned down. Of course, anyone from Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, and Greg Bird could be made available to acquire someone like Hamels, but hopefully Brian Cashman is crafty enough to know that, while the Phillies could simply decide not to trade their ace, he shouldn't give Amaro everything he asks for. Of course, this could also all be talk in order to get the Red Sox to commit to a deal before their rivals get a new weapon.

For the Yankees, Hamels might be the perfect addition for the 2015 season. They have room for him, and he would fit right into the top of their rotation, serving as their alternative to signing Max Scherzer and Jon Lester to big free agent deals. Even if nothing happens during spring training, this could be a story line to follow through the first half of the season and into the trade deadline. If the Yankees are in contention and Hamels is effective and healthy, expect talks to continue and more rumors to swirl until the 31-year-old finally ends up somewhere.