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Rangers, Nats discussing Hamels trade

Lefty pitcher could be headed to Washington
MLB.com @jonmorosi

Although negotiations are at a preliminary stage and obstacles remain, the Nationals and Rangers have had trade discussions involving four-time All-Star Cole Hamels, sources told MLB.com Monday.

The Hamels talks illuminate one key aspect of the Nationals' approach to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline: As long as they are viable contenders for a National League playoff spot, they will look to upgrade their starting rotation.

Although negotiations are at a preliminary stage and obstacles remain, the Nationals and Rangers have had trade discussions involving four-time All-Star Cole Hamels, sources told MLB.com Monday.

The Hamels talks illuminate one key aspect of the Nationals' approach to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline: As long as they are viable contenders for a National League playoff spot, they will look to upgrade their starting rotation.

For the Rangers, Hamels' contract is an impediment in consummating a trade -- with the Nationals or any other club. He's owed more than $7 million over the balance of this season, followed by a $20 million club option (or $6 million buyout) for 2019.

The Rangers likely would be asked to assume a portion of Hamels' future salary obligations, particularly in light of his recent performance. Due in part to spotty fastball command, he has a 5.28 ERA since the start of June.

Still, it helps the Nationals in their effort to land Hamels that they are not among the 20 teams to which he can block a trade.

The Nationals' rotation long has been one of the franchise's greatest strengths, but that has changed this year. Nationals starters have combined for a 33-36 record and 4.05 ERA, which ranks 14th in the Majors. Last year, they were fourth with a 3.63 ERA.

The Mariners and Yankees have also shown interest in Hamels previously. The Braves have scouted Hamels as well in recent weeks and are monitoring his marketplace, sources said.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.