Many local and national baseball writers have been on the Sports Bash recently to discuss what the Phillies should do with Cole Hamels. While reaction has been mixed, most think the Philliess should at least consider trading this year's ace.

On Sunday alone, Buster Olney of reports that the Phillies contract extension offer to Cole Hamels is "expected to be in the ballpark that they know the left-hander will want, this close to free agency." Danny Knobler of reports that the Dodgers are considered long-shots to trade for Cole Hamels and Ken Rosenthal of reports that the Angels are among the teams scouting Cole Hamels' start Sunday in Colorado.

Three different baseball reporters, three different reports - all concerning Hamels.

When you look at the Nationals and the Braves, you're going to have to finish ahead of at least one of them to make the playoffs, are the Phillies as constructed this year anywhere close to being on that level of either of those two teams? The answer is no.

To me, if I'm sitting in general manager Ruben Amaro Jr's chair, I would put Cole out there. I'm not saying I would trade him necessarily, but you almost have to see what kind of interest you could get in him.

Again I have started many times on the radio that I am not all that ready to deal Hamels at this point, I think you offer him what he wants, see if it takes it, if not you have a better indication that he really doesn't want to be here.

If he says no to the contract that he wants, then I am open to that idea, but on one condition.

For the Phillies to trade Hamels away I don't want prospects, I want established, young, controllable talent (yes probably a pipe dream), guys like Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun or Mark Trumbo just to name a few.

Either way to me, Cole Hamels is the face of your rotation now.

Part of his new deal should include a promise that he will pitch opening day, while it's just one day it's an honor that many pitchers yearn to have and with Roy Halladay in the way Hamels hasn't had that chance to pitch on opening day ever.

The Phillies don't mind giving Hamels a bigger annual salary like the $24 million that Cliff  Lee received - but the number of years is the major sticking point. Originally the Phillies were inclined to offer a four-year deal, but they are now resigned to the reality that they'll have to tack on more years in order to get an agreement done.

The clock is ticking for the Phillies to make a decision and it really is the Ruben Amaro and the Phillies fault that it has gotten this far.  Let's just hope they clean this mess up and get a deal done - trading Cole Hamels would be almost as bad a dealing away Cliff Lee then having to spend $24 million per season to bring him back.