Phillies will wait to talk to Hamels. Does that mean they want to trade him? No.

Cole Hamels is not on the trade block, despite media speculation. (Bill Kostroun/AP)

MILWAUKEE — The Phillies have not yet engaged in formal negotiations with Cole Hamels and his agent John Boggs. Hamels is under control for 2012 and the Phillies have other holes for 2012 that Ruben Amaro Jr. says he will address first.

"We have some other fish to fry right now," Amaro said.

Both sides want a deal. Amaro has long spoken of his pride in Hamels and desire to keep a homegrown ace (and the youngest star on the oldest team in baseball). Boggs has previously talked about Hamels' affinity for Philadelphia and his willingness to make a deal. Hamels has never contradicted that.

Of course, the longer Hamels remains unsigned, the more time there is for speculation to fly.

The Phillies do not want to trade Hamels. Any suggestion of that idea is purely speculation at this point. Some national writers have dabbled in such speculation. It is not fact. The Phillies are not entertaining offers for Hamels.

"We have some other pieces of the club we need to take care of," Amaro said. "I've already expressed that to Cole and his agent. They understand it. We have until next October to do a deal with Cole. It's not a pressing need. But it's something we're absolutely on top of."

How we arrived at Point B from Point A, of course, is the faulty logic. For example: Because the Phillies traded Cliff Lee two winters ago, they cannot be ruled out from making a similar move with Hamels.

Sure, anything can happen. No one expected Lee to be traded. Amaro, in retrospect, said it was a mistake he made. He rectified it by re-signing Lee a year later.

How that relates to Hamels in any way, I'm not quite sure.

Yes, if Hamels signs a long-term deal, he will probably make at least $20 million per season. Lee, Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard have already crossed that threshold. But as we've said before, money is not much of an object these days for the Phillies. Their payroll will approach $180 million in 2012 and probably eclipse that figure.

Do they have some long-term commitments that could be eyesores in the future? For sure. But while the revenue-machine at Citizens Bank Park keeps churning sellouts, merchandise and a new, massive TV rights deal within the next three years, one or two or three problematic contracts probably will not defeat the machine.

The Phillies, eventually, will negotiate with Hamels' party. When that will be, we can't say. Until then, don't confuse speculation with facts.

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