The strong belief, based on talks so far with the Phillies, is that the team would much prefer to trade Cliff Lee than Cole Hamels.

But, as one rival GM said, "Cliff Lee isn't pitching. So how can you make a deal for him today?"

That is a fair point, but Lee is expected back soon from an elbow issue that has sidelined him for a few weeks, and it's possible he could pitch in two or three games that could amount to a showcase for the star left-hander.

The asking price, meantime, is said to be very high for Hamels ... if the Phillies will even trade him. Hamels, operating on a six-year, $144 million deal, is 3-5 with a 2.93 ERA.