The man Phillies fans call “Hollywood” held a press conference Monday, and either he was being sincere or he may just belong in Hollywood acting, because Cole Hamels seemed to have all of the right answers when speaking about his upcoming free agency.
Phillies fans should see this as a tremendous sign that Hamels would like to stay in Philadelphia for the bulk of his career. He referenced how he has been living in Philadelphia for 10 years now and how it is considered his home. Also, he mentioned how the first step in the process was signing the one-year contract this offseason. That contract allows him to focus on training and recovering from the two minor surgeries he had after last season.
Hamels said all negotiation will take place between the Phillies and his agent, and he does not expect to have his free agency become a nuisance for him or his teammates.
In past years, many rumors have gone around regarding Hamels wanting to return to California, where he was raised, and most recently, rumors revolved around how the Phillies would not be able to afford the salary he may command. This press conference did not put those rumors to rest for good, but it definitely seems to have, at least, laid them down for a nap. Phillies fans can only hope it is a rather long nap.
There are other things to be happy about, too. Hamels made mention of how he has matured both physically and mentally in the last few years but that, right now, it is hard to compare him to pitchers such as Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, who have been consistent over a much longer term. This does not mean that Hamels doesn’t see himself being of that caliber one day. He definitely does, and his confidence seems to be more evident now than in past years, which may indicate the salary Hamels and his agent are expected to command.
Overall, Phillies fans should be thrilled that he sounds determined and that he made mention of not being back to the World Series for a couple of years as if he was upset by that being the case. Ideally, a contract for Hamels would happen before the All-Star break, but realistically this may drag on, just as the Jimmy Rollins deal did last year. For now, all things are pointing toward Hollywood staying in Philly. Lets hope it wasn’t just an act.