Why Hamels, Victorino could be dealt

Updated: May 13, 2012, 4:52 PM ET
By Buster Olney

Weeks of conversation take place before most trades are executed, and in a lot of cases, the first talks are theoretical feelers. No hard offers, no firm proposals, just an idea tossed out, like part of a brainstorming exercise.

This was the vein in which the Phillies first raised the idea of a possibly dealing Cole Hamels or Shane Victorino weeks ago. Philadelphia did not play well in the first days of the season, and with Hamels and Victorino eligible for free agency in the fall -- and neither close to a new deal -- the Phillies called around to lay the first groundwork for a possible swap of the two veterans.

There may not be another call made. The Phillies could start playing better -- they beat the Padres on Friday night -- and they would continue to go about the business of trying to extend their consecutive streak of division titles.

But if the Phillies never turn it around -- if they don't get a boost from the return of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard -- then they at least have an early idea of who may or may not be interested in making a deal for Hamels, who is among the pre-eminent left-handers in the league, or Victorino, a plus defender with speed and power.