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Red Sox not 'close' on Cole Hamels, exploring Wade Miley trade and more

No Lester? No Hamels? The Sox have other options in play.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Cole Hamels would be a lovely addition to the Red Sox, but he'll be a costly one. He was always behind Jon Lester in the transaction queue for Boston, and with plenty of other pitchers available and deals to work out, he's still not at the front of the line. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Sox and Phillies are "not currently close" on Hamels, and that the Sox are talking about a trade for Wade Miley and his three years of service time or one of "five-plus" other pitchers.

Update 2:13 pm: Rosenthal stated on MLB Network that "five-plus" pitchers meant pitchers with five-plus years of service time, not the number of pitchers the Red Sox are working on trades for. Still, the Sox have called on all the pitchers they believe have a chance to be traded, according to Ben Cherington's Tuesday discussion with the media at the winter meetings.

The Red Sox probably don't want Hamels unless the Phillies are willing to take low-level talent for him -- quality talent, mind you, but far from the majors. The Phillies would like closer to ready prospects, since it speeds up their rebuild. This impasse will likely remain for some time, and it's why you'll find the Red Sox searching elsewhere. Miley, as we've already discussed on Wednesday, would be a lovely, ground-balling fit in front of the Boston infield, and there are even other high-quality options around, such as the Reds' Mat Latos or, if the Sox don't mind paying up for an expiring ace, Johnny Cueto.

Both the Diamondbacks and Reds are reported to be looking to shed salary in addition to adding talent at their respective organizational crossroads, though with rumors of trade interest in Yoenis Cespedes attached to the latter, it seems more likely the Red Sox would help on that particular front in Arizona by prying the arbitration-eligible Miley away. The Reds are in a better position to add a hitter like Cespedes and then try to get lucky in the NL Central with the pitching they hold onto, or to find somewhere else to shed money, like closer Aroldis Chapman.

Rosenthal doesn't confirm who the five-plus pitchers the Red Sox are looking at are, but does suggest that Shields remains a possible Red Sox target through free agency. Expect something to happen relatively soon, as the winter meetings all but end on Wednesday, with only the Rule 5 draft and flights home to look forward to on Thursday.