The recruitment of Cole Hamels has already started

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All-Star Cole Hamels has more best friends that he knows what to do with. While opposing teams can’t talk to the free-agent-to-be, players on other teams are under no such restrictions.

“All I say to them is that I’ve been to every city, and I know what every city is like,” Hamels told Danny Knobler of CBS Sports on Tuesday.

Incidentally, Hamels has his locker stationed next to Clayton Kershaw’s in the Kansas City visitors clubhouse.  Flush with cash, the Dodgers seem pretty likely to be the high bidder for Hamels this winter, assuming that the Phillies can’t sign him to an extension before then.

I would love to have him there,” Kershaw told Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times. “Our whole team would love to have a guy of his caliber. I hope we make a run at him.”

Hamels made it sound like testing free agency is the likely scenario.

“Anybody that wants to win, they’ve got a fair shot,” he said.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.