In this week's Stark Report, we discussed his ESPN.com peice on Phillies ace  Cole Hamels, who he lists as the top trade candidate this trade season.

Hamels missed his most recent start on Friday night, but should be good to show off his stuff again on Wednesday against the Yankees.

Missing that start shouldn't deter teams from calling the Phillies for Hamels, as Stark points out, he is still the top name on the trade market.

"Just talking to other clubs, there's as much interest in Cole Hamels as there's ever been," Hamels told me on the Sports Bash.  "He's the number one attraction on the market and he has been."

"If anything is market value is higher now than it was in spring training," Stark said an MLB executive told him.  "Ruben rolled the dice, he didn't trade himthis winter, he didn't trade him this spring, he's held on to him until now for just this moment in time and now he's waiting around from someone to get desperate"

But what are the Phillies asking for?  That hasn't changed it seems, per Stark, Amaro is still not budging on his enormous asking price and that could be something that prevents a deal from happening.

"I keep hearing a lot of the same stuff I hear from other teams for a long time now, Ruben just gets dug in on certain players, certain types of deals, doesn't want to budge, isn't that flexible on the money - and until there is some indication there is some flexibility on all of that its gonna be real difficult to deal this guy whether he's healthy or not."

Stark notes over at ESPN.com that Hanels is No. 1 in his top 10 names to watch to be trade saying:

Stop us if you've heard this before. Hamels is the No. 1 attraction on this market. And nothing has happened to change that since the Phillies rolled the dice and held on to him last winter.

 

"If anything," said one NL exec, "his market value is higher than it was two months ago."

 

The list of teams that could be a fit is as long as ever. But clubs that have talked with the Phillies are still complaining that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. remains "fixated" on players those teams have continuously balked at trading, with one exec saying that at some point, Amaro will have to be "more creative" to get a deal done.

 

But the Phillies think it's a seller's market, and feel as if the 3½ years (and about $90 million) left on Hamels' contract actually make him more, not less, attractive. So they're being exceptionally patient with their soon-to-be-ex-ace, as they wait for somebody to get desperate.

Friday during the Stark Report, we discussed the position the Phillies are in when it comes to trading Hamels.