Report: The Astros are “making a big push” for Cole Hamels

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The Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from the Athletics last week, but they are still thinking big as they make a push for the postseason. According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Astros “remain in the thick” of the bidding for Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels and are “making a big push” to get a deal done.

We heard yesterday that there is “momentum building” toward a trade involving Hamels, who threw a no-hitter against the Cubs on Saturday. The Dodgers and Rangers have been considered the favorites in recent days, but the Yankees, Giants, Cubs, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks are among the other possibilities. Hamels can block a trade to 20 teams and it’s unclear whether he would sign off on a trade to Houston.

Hamels, 31, owns a 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 137/39 K/BB ratio in 128 2/3 innings this season. He’s owed $22.5 million per season from 2016-2018 and his contract includes a $20 million club option or $6 million buyout for 2019.

Matt Klentak gives Gabe Kapler vote of confidence

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Despite the Phillies’ current seven-game losing streak and 6-16 record since May 30, manager Gabe Kapler isn’t going anywhere. Prior to Monday’s series opener against the Mets, GM Matt Klentak gave Kapler a vote of confidence, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports.

Klentak said, “Gabe Kapler is our manager. Our staff is our staff.” He continued, “I’ve been a part of organizations that have made in-season staff changes before. You have to believe that if you’re going to do that that your alternative is better than your status quo. And I believe in our guys. The key to this group succeeding is this group coming together and doing it as a unit. Players, coaches, manager, front office, and believing in each other.”

The Phillies haven’t been performing well for nearly a month now, but the club has also been hobbled by injuries. The injured list currently features Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Victor Arano, Pat Neshek, Jerad Eickhoff, Adam Haseley, and Seranthony Domínguez. Odúbel Herrera also remains on the restricted list having been arrested for a domestic violence incident. Seeing Kapler canned might be cathartic for frustrated fans, but it won’t help get anyone back from the injured list.