That’s the case with the Phillies right now. After years of fans talking about their team’s chances of winning the World Series, they are not talking about it this year with the team stinking. They are concerned about Cole Hamels.
With the Phillies ace being a free agent, there has been hysteria from fans and sports talkies about him likely leaving. There have been innuendos from the national media about him being on the trade block or leaving the organization as a free agent. It makes one want to scream out of frustration.
The truth of the reality is no one knows what Hamels will do. In fact, the long-time Phillie does not know what team he wants to play for next year.
Hamels mentioned he would go out on the open market. That’s not a surprise. After Matt Cain signed a six-year, $127.5 million deal to stay with the Giants, it was going to be a no-brainer for the 2008 World Series MVP to test the market. It’s his right. He accomplished everything in his career to get an opportunity to see what he is worth from the Phillies and other teams. This is his first and last shot of being a prominent free agent, so it’s easy to understand why he is doing it. Anyone would do the same thing if the opportunity presented itself.
It does not mean Hamels is going to leave just because he wants to be a free agent. He does not give that vibe after enjoying so many great years with the organization. He established his roots in Philadelphia. We are not talking Scott Rolen with this elite pitcher.
The Philiies shouldn’t count on getting a hometown discount. That went out the window after Cain’s deal. The team blew it by not sealing the deal with Hamels during spring training.
The Phillies have no problem paying what Hamels want. It’s going to come down to number of years. The organization is leery about paying a starter for seven years. Historically, those deals turn out to be a disaster for pitchers. This would be smart thinking in theory of not paying for a long contract, but in this case, the team has to do whatever it takes to keep him.
Hamels is a homegrown pitcher that can’t pitch for another organization next year. Guys like him are hard to find. There are too many mediocre pitchers in baseball, so it would behoove the Phillies to lose a pitcher that is entering the prime of his career. It’s a move they have to make. Guys get long-term deals all the time even if they don’t deserve it, and it’s something the Phillies have to accept whether they like it or not.
When PhillyBurbs.com’s Kevin Cooney was asked about Hamels’ future in his live chat with the fans last night, he mentioned the Phillies would likely keep their star than trading him. It makes sense for many reasons. For one thing, there is no guarantee the team would get anything good in return. Second of all, Ruben Amaro Jr. is not a good talent evaluator to figure out what great players from other team’s farm system that he can get in return. Finally, the team would turn many fans off by trading their star after forking up money to watch the team.
By keeping Hamels, it would show nice gesture on the organization’s part that they will make an effort to sign him long-term. That can go a long way for both sides.
Still, keeping him for the rest of the year will not satisfy the fans and certain members of the media. They want his name signed on the dotted line before they can relax. It’s only human nature.
Cooney mentioned the Phillies will likely fork the money for many years that Hamels want. That is encouraging since he has a good inkling of what the team does. Plus, the organization know the consequences if they let him go. They are going to be perceived as cheap, and it’s something that Phillies CEO David Montgomery does not want to hear.
Hamels is putting the pressure on the Phillies to make it happen. He mentioned that he wants to be here, and he wants to be paid like an ace for many years.
The Phillies want Hamels to finish his career in Philly, and it’s something this pitcher wants to do, too.
Both know this is a perfect marriage, so it’s hard to think a divorce will happen with his departure next year. It will eventually work out for both of them.
Both sides are not worried at all, so fans and talkies should relax rather than use the summer to get worked up. Being in a state of panic is not going to get an agreement by both sides, especially when they are not in a rush.
Patience should be a virtue when it comes to a homegrown star reaching an agreement with his team.