Spring training is under way as the Philadelphia Phillies ready themselves for the new season. Rumours still persist about whether 31-year old pitcher Cole Hamels will be sticking around, though.
Hamels has been a fixture at the Phillies since 2006 and, although a consistent performer last season, he was also persistently linked with a move away from Philadelphia. His recent comments to USA Today will ensure that uncertainty will surround his position until the season gets underway.
The Phillies are rebuilding their team at the moment. President Pat Gillick, the man who masterminded the Phillies’ most recent championship run, admitted that he didn’t expect to be competing at the highest level until at least 2017. Even so, Hamels’ words—which were probably a reflection of Gillick’s comments—have still reverberated around Major League Baseball.
In his interview with USA Today, Hamels stated: “I just want to win…that’s all any competitor wants. And I know it’s not going to happen here.”
Hamels has spent a long time in the city of Philadelphia and his commitment is not in question. However, his frustration is easy to see.
If a respected adviser such as Gillick insists that it will be another three seasons before his team can compete at the top, then alarm bells will ring. After all, time marches on quickly for athletes. These are the words of a man who has past the age of 30 and will be eyeing a depleting number of years in which he can continue to offer his best.
The Phils, then, are rebuilding for the future. The fervor surrounding the likes of Hamels wanting-away will be making an uncomfortable start to spring training. GM Ruben Amaro has that, and a number of other big calls to make before the season starts.
Rebuilding for the future is fine, but the present must also be taken care of. The season starts against the Red Sox on 6th April, you can find here MLB tickets. There is much work to be done in a short time, then.
Gillick stated that he is aware that it is hard to ask fans to be patient. “Patience is kind of thin these days. But I think this is going to be more of a rebuilding, more of a restructuring than a reloading.”
In the news conference that followed his USA Today comments, Cole Hamels was asked whether he still felt the same?
His reply was, “At this given moment, I’m a Phillie.” His future is as uncertain as the team’s for the next few years.