cole hamels cubsWhether he comes to the Cubs or not, it’s going to be very interesting – both for the rest of this season and for the offseason – to see where Cole Hamels winds up.

We know that the Cubs have had interest in the man who no-hit them yesterday, but it’s been an open question how aggressive the Cubs will be on a guy who will cost not only substantial prospects but also a healthy salary commitment over the next three years. There are reasons to see a fit here, but there are other reasons to perhaps aim lower for now, and save up for free agency.

Whatever the Cubs’ level of interest, they are not seen as the favorites, according to both Jayson Stark and Jon Heyman, each of whom report that the Dodgers and Rangers are the two most likely landing spots. The Dodgers have a huge need in their rotation behind the front three of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Brett Anderson (the latter of whom has an extensive injury history), and have the prospects and cash to easy get any deal done. The Rangers, though maybe not aiming for this season, have been attached to Hamels as a long-term piece for a long time.

The Cubs are mentioned in both reports as still involved, but, as I said, it’s not quite clear how aggressive they’re going to be. I doubt this weekend’s sweep would change the Cubs’ thinking on a longer-term piece like Hamels too much, for what that’s worth. Either they want him or they don’t, and if they do, there’s a limit in what they’ll pay.

If either the Dodgers or Rangers do get Hamels, an ancillary side effect: it could take them out of the market for the higher end of pitching free agents after the season (though with the Dodgers, I’d pretty much rule out nothing).