Report: Phillies preparing “substantial” offer for Cole Hamels

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According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Phillies are preparing a “substantial” offer for impending free agent Cole Hamels.

Exact details of the offer aren’t yet known, but Stark hears that the Phillies have had multiple internal discussions about whether to offer more than five guaranteed years. Previous reports have indicated that the club doesn’t have an issue with giving Hamels the yearly salary he covets, likely close to Cliff Lee’s $24 million AAV (average annual value), but they have been hesitant to go beyond five years.

The Phillies will almost certainly have to make a concession in years to have any chance to keep Hamels from testing the open market. He doesn’t turn 29 until December and is poised to land one of the richest contracts ever for a pitcher.

With Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back and Roy Halladay expected to return soon, Stark hears the Phillies will wait up to two weeks before determining whether it’s time to sell off parts leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. By then, they should have a pretty good indication of whether Hamels is receptive to their offer.

Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.