With the Phillies, you can believe what they say publicly, or you can believe what they're telling other teams in baseball.
"They told me, 'If we lose any more games, we could be selling soon,'" one rival club official said Monday, after talking to a high-ranking Phillies official.
That fits with what CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman wrote Sunday about the Phillies already calling around about Cole Hamels, and it shouldn't really come as a shock. The Phillies were swept over the weekend in Miami, falling a season-high 11 games out of first place and a season-high 7 1/2 games out of the second and final wild-card spot.
The website coolstandings.com, which uses a computer to play out the rest of the season, lists the Phillies as having a 3.2 percent chance of getting to the playoffs. Teams do sometimes recover from that -- coolstandings.com pegged the Cardinals as a 1.1 percent chance last August and had the Rays as a 0.5 percent chance in early September.
But the Phillies are clearly on the edge of falling totally out of contention, even with Chase Utley back in the lineup and Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay on the way back.
So while it may read nice for Phillies fans to hear general manager Ruben Amaro either "denounce" (according to the Philadelphia Inquirer) or "downplay" (according to CSNPhilly.com and Phillies.com) Heyman's report, it's a lot easier to believe what the Phillies have said to other teams.
I don't doubt that the Phillies would still prefer to sign Hamels, as Amaro told his local writers again on Monday. I don't doubt that the Phillies still hold out some hope that they can win a bunch of games in a row and avoid selling.
But yes, I do fully believe that the Phillies "could be selling soon."
It won't just be Hamels, either. Teams that have spoken to the Phillies think that center fielder Shane Victorino is even more likely to go, and that pitcher Joe Blanton and third baseman Placido Polanco would be available, as well.