The Padres are still pursuing a trade with the Phillies for Cole Hamels

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It was reported late last month that the Padres had talked to the Phillies about a trade for ace left-hander Cole Hamels and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman hears that the possibility is “still said to be alive.”

Early speculation was that the Padres would try to center the return package around the recently-acquired Wil Myers, but Heyman reports that trade scenarios recently discussed did not include him. The Phillies are obviously looking for a huge return, so this presumably means that top prospects like Austin Hedges, Hunter Renfroe, Matt Wisler, and Rymer Liriano could be discussed. Nothing is considered imminent, but one executive with another team said the Padres “may be more likely than some others to land Hamels.” As bold as new GM A.J. Preller has been this offseason, it can’t be ruled out.

Hamels, who is from San Diego, posted a career-low 2.46 ERA (151 ERA+) and 198/59 K/BB ratio in 204 2/3 innings across 30 starts last season. The 31-year-old is owed $94 million over the next four seasons and his contract includes a $24 million vesting option (or a $20 million team option with a $6 million buyout) for 2019.

The Red Sox, Cardinals, and Cubs are among the other teams who have been linked to Hamels this winter.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.