---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 throws 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.


---Brian Schneider is on the verge of re-upping with the Phillies on a one-year deal, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. All that's left is to pass the physical and he'll once again be the Phillies backup catcher.

It was a fine year behind the dish for Schneider, as he helped guide rookie starter Vance Worley in most of his starts, acting as a personal backstop of sorts. Overall, when Schneider was in the starting lineup, the Phillies went 27-8 in 2011. The veterans and youngsters alike respect his veteran presence - he's also a joy in the clubhouse and true leader of the Phillies.

However, all of that cannot mask the fact that he was absolutely abominable with the bat. Schneider finished the season hitting just .176, with a despicably low .502 OPS.

I'm somewhat surprised the Phillies brought him back, especially with the need to get younger and find some sort of stable offense off the bench. It appears they enjoy the intangibles and defense Schneider brings to the table.