ESPN's Jayson Stark was told by sources that the Phillies are preparing a "substantial offer" to Cole Hamels in an attempt to sign the impending free agent in the next two weeks.

It's really the only move the Phillies can make.  They are in the middle of a horrendous season and the fans are starting to turn on their every move.  One way to make sure they don't have a public relations nightmare is to make sure they get Hamels signed to a long-term deal.

Sure trading him makes some sense, if they get a haul back in return for him, but teams with the payroll of the Phillies don't "sell" and "dump" salaries, they shake off the dust and try to re-load in the off-season.  The Phillies best shot is to sign Hamels and take another run at the division in 2013 with Halladay, Lee and Hamels leading the rotation.

Do they need help in other areas?  Sure.  But letting Hamels walk or trading him away for prospects isn't going to keep fans in the seats at Citizens Bank Park.  The Phillies need help at 3B, LF, and pretty soon are going to need a new CF.  They are pretty much stuck at 1B, 2B and SS with what they have and in RF and catcher they seem to be fine.

But ultimately if they don't fix there bullpen; bringing Hamels back will only be a band-aid for one of the ugliest wounds baseball has.  With Jonathan Papelbon at the back end, the Phillies have one of the games best closers in the game.  Other then Papelbon, Charlie Manuel seems to be drawing straws each and every night to get the final 3-to-9 outs.

Either way, the first step to becoming relevant again next season is to bring back their ace and that's exactly what Hamels has become.  As CSNPhilly.com Phillies insider told us on the show Friday, the Phillies are comfortable with the dollars, it's the year's where the Phillies seem to have issues.

My guess, as it has been all along is, the Phillies will get a deal done with Hamels - they know they have too.