Originally posted on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 11/16/11

PHOTO: AP

–Once and for all Cole Hamels IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE. Just felt I had to make that clear because the rumors – nay, discussions – that have surfaced over the past few days from some of our friends at ESPN.com and FoxSports.com are just ridiculous. I understand they’re just doing their job; they have to inform but also stir up a little controversy for readership. But there is just no way the Phillies could ever trade Cole Hamels. Think Ryan Howard contract extension backlash and multiply it by 100.

(I guess there is a way, they did trade Cliff Lee. But that was at a time when they believed it was a must to fit Roy Halladay. My feeling is, they realize things are different now. They can’t sign Papelbon long term and then NOT keep the guy who will bring them into the future as their ace).

You just don’t trade a lefty pitcher that throw 94 consistently and is just now entering his prime. Small market teams do it because they can’t afford it. The Phillies can only be exceeded in payroll by the Yankees at this point, so even attempting to think about the thought of trading Hamels away is just asinine.

There isn’t even one ounce of me that believes the Phillies would let him get away. How could they justify paying Cliff Lee, who is more than four years older than Hamels, $20-plus-million per season on a five year deal and not pay Hamels in the near future? In roughly two or three seasons, it’s very likely that Hamels will be the ace of the staff ahead of Lee and Roy Halladay.

Keep buying those Hamels jerseys and shirseys – he’ll be sticking around.

–We don’t know much about Yoennis Cespedes except for what his ridiculous YouTube video showed us, which was that he likes to swing hard and is a hell of an athlete. The 26-year-old Cuban defector is in the Dominican Republic holding tryouts for several MLB teams, and the Phillies are one of them.

Ruben Amaro Jr. told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer in Milwaukee that his scouts believed they needed a closer look at the kid. Fair enough. “Due diligence” is the new chic term Amaro uses on occasion, and he used it here in regards to Cespedes, whom he called an “interesting athlete.” It’s unlikely the Phillies would sign Cespedes to a long-term contract, however, it shows they mean business by scouting him, not matter what the price may be.

Honestly, I have no opinion on this kid. It’s hard to, because none of us have seen him play or even heard his name uttered before a week ago. Our own Mike Baumann talked about the mystery surrounding the player last week.

–Amaro also mentioned at the GM Meetings in Milwaukee that backup catcher is likely up next on the to-do list. There isn’t a very good chance Jimmy Rollins signs anywhere in the next few days, so the Phillies will wade through the shallow pool of second-string backstops.

Still available are Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder, Kelly Shoppach, Ivan Rodriguez, Gerald Laird, and Brian Schneider. I openly pined to bring in the versatile Doumit (although was bashed a bit because he plays everywhere, but doesn’t play any of those positions well), but he recently turned down a one-year, $3 million offer from the Dodgers. He’s probably not worth $4-6 million for the Phillies. I’m a fan of his powerful lefty bat, but not at that price.

“Pudge” could be a fit behind “Chooch;” he’d fit well in the clubhouse for sure. But again you take the chance that his age becomes a factor. There are rumors that surfaced late last night that the Phillies are close to bringing Schneider back, but his bat just isn’t there, although his defense and the way he handles a staff is still top notch. Probably need more offensively, in my estimation. He’s now a complete liability with the bat. Who do you like of the remaining crop of catchers to back up Ruiz?

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