The Red Sox and Phillies aren't close to completing a deal for lefty ace Cole Hamels, and at this point it seems unlikely that they pull anything off before the season is underway. Still, as unlikely as it was to fly, the Red Sox were one of four teams that have made offers on Hamels according to Nick Cafardo:
But what we've been able to piece together through various sources is that the package Boston offered was heavy on the major league side, trying to avoid giving up any of their top prospects. Suffice it to say, that won't get you Hamels. The Phillies are insistent on prospects, and if they don't get them now they'll wait until the trade deadline when there might be more desperation by teams seeking to win.
The question becomes: what, exactly, did the Red Sox offer up?
There are a few obvious answers with the major league talent stipulation. The first is Allen Craig, who the Red Sox don't really have room on the roster for headed into the 2015 season. As it stands, the team will have to make a tough decision between keeping Craig, whose upside is apparent given his performances from 2011 to 2013, and Daniel Nava, whose ability to hit left-handed would be a boon off the bench to a right-handed heavy Red Sox team.
How much value Craig really carries at this point is uncertain. If the Red Sox have been shopping Craig this offseason--and there have certainly been rumblings suggesting that's the case--then their inability to find a taker should speak volumes.
Amusingly enough, the other half of the John Lackey return is also likely part of the offer. With five men in the rotation already, it would only make sense that the Red Sox should deal a starting pitcher to the Phillies in any Cole Hamels trade. Given that Kelly is currently at the back end of that rotation, and one of the only members whose contract situation would interest a rebuilding Phillies team, it seems safe to bet that Kelly was a part of the offer as well.
Looking at the rest of the roster, there are few names that would hold interest to the Phillies. The Red Sox might offer up Jackie Bradley Jr., but after a full year of poor results at the plate, it's unlikely that his name would carry much weight. The same is true of Brock Holt, and any number of the bullpen arms on the border between Triple-A and the majors (Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree, and the like).
One interesting name that hasn't come up all that much is Christian Vazquez. Earlier in the offseason, trading Vazquez might not have seen all that feasible, since it would have left the Red Sox without any real options at catcher short of a very aggressive promotion for Blake Swihart. After acquiring Ryan Hanigan, however, the idea of shipping Vazquez to Philadelphia and finding a short-term backup is entirely realistic.
If Ruben Amaro Jr. isn't exactly known for being a reasonable trader, it's not hard to see why the Phillies would reject a deal based around these three players, even with some minor leaguers thrown in. As it stands, Philadelphia is not looking to compete now, or in the immediate future. Both Joe Kelly and Craig are only under team control as long as Hamels is, and that's not including Hamels' option. Vazquez (and any minor leaguer) is perhaps the player most in line with Philadelphia's needs in terms of service time and chance of contributing to the next competitive Phillies team, and he's never really been a top-tier prospect.
On the whole, then, there's just not that much to entice the Phillies here. If Kelly and Craig are going to help the Phillies more than Hamels would, they're going to have to actually combine to outproduce the lefty ace in the year in question, since combined they'll cost as much as Hamels by that point. That's kind of a long shot, putting a lot of the burden on Vazquez and any of the lesser minor leaguers the Red Sox might have offered up. And that's assuming they even put Vazquez in the offer to begin with.
There may be a meeting point somewhere in between, likely involving the likes of Henry Owens/Eduardo Rodriguez as a headliner. But the Phillies are going to have to be convinced that there's no Blake Swihart--and most certainly no Mookie Betts--offer coming from the Red Sox, or an equivalent deal from another team before they're ready to move on to that middle ground. And that's likely not going to happen until the trade deadline fails to provide that offer.
In the meantime, the Phillies can keep making huge demands and the Red Sox can keep making offers out of their spare parts until the cows come home. Neither side is going to bite on something like that, but futility has never killed a trade saga like this one before.