It appears that the much talked about trade of Cole Hamels is going to happen.
“I just want to win,” Hamels told USA TODAY SPORTS. “That’s all. That’s all any competitor wants. And I know it’s not going to happen here. This isn’t what I expected. It’s not what the Phillies expected, either. But it’s reality.”
Hamels saying this clearly shows that the Phillies are in full-time rebuild mode, and it may take years for them to come out of the basement in the NL East. The franchise looks to be taking a detour back to the early 1990s when, after trading Curt Schilling, it faced a handful of unsuccessful season that resulted in securing top draft picks and eventually winning a World Series in 2008.
Cole Hamels was the key to that World Series. He took home NLCS MVP honors as well as the World Series MVP award. Since becoming a Phillie, Hamels has become deeply rooted in the Philadelphia community. Many fans and experts wondered if he was willing to stay around even if the team was heading in a downward spiral. It seems the answer is a clear no.
Cole Hamels signed a six-year, $144 million contract in 2012. At that point, he saw the team headed in a different direction. Truthfully, the Phillies also thought they were still trending upward, but injuries and age caught up to the club fast.
“The reason the Phillies committed a huge contract to me,” says Hamels, “wasn’t just to pitch in the regular season, but the postseason, too. That’s why they paid me that kind of money. They planned on being in the playoffs every year, or at least contending.
“I want that too. I want to be in the playoffs every year. That’s where you make a name for yourself. It’s not about the Cy Young awards and MVP awards. It’s about winning championships. You want to be in a place where you have a chance to win. And when we were winning, with the fans and the passion they have for sports, it was the best place to be.”
Hamels’ statements perfectly sum up where the Phillies were and where they are going. One thing is certain: The Phils cannot mess up this trade. Cole Hamels is their golden ticket, and whomever they receive in return will be the cornerstones of a rebuild. It is sad to see Cole leave, but if he brings back prospects that will help Philly get back to where it was five years ago, it will be worth it.