Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly is reporting that the Cole Hamels negotiations are reaching a critical point as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. Salisbury reports that Hamels and the Phillies maintain a basic agreement in dollars, about $24 million a year, but continue to struggle to match contract length details, with the Phillies aiming for a four year deal and Hamels seeking more.
This in itself may not be newsworthy, but there were positives from the conversation Salisbury had with Hamels. While Hamels desires to determine his worth on the free agent market, Salisbury is reporting that the desire to stay with one team is more important to Hamels than testing his worth, indicating he would be willing to continue to negotiate.
From Salisbury’s piece:
“Of course,” said Hamels when asked if he’d like to be a Phillie forever. “I grew up watching Tony Gwynn being a Padre forever. That says something about a person if they’re able to do that. I know it’s very hard in this day and age. It’s something I grew up watching and hope to be able to emulate that. It’s up to both sides to be able to do it.”
Notable further is that Gwynn, Hamels’ boyhood idol, was also a client of John Boggs, Hamels’ agent.
Perhaps the most comforting quote from Hamels may have been his indication that the Phillies will have the first and, most importantly, last opportunity to sign him. Salisbury quoted Hamels as stating “I’ll always give them the first choice,” he said. “If there are multiple teams I’m always going to put them at the top of my list.” Hamels has indicated recently that he would be opening to re-signing with the Phillies if he is traded at the deadline and reiterated that with Salisbury.
The Cole Hamels Contract-Trade Watch is in full bloom.