Cole Hamels on free agency (again), Opening Day
It's going to be near-impossible for Cole Hamels to make a start this season and not have to field at least one question about his contract status.
Hamels is in line to become a free agent after the 2012 season. There was a CSNPhilly.com report earlier this week that said Hamels' agent, John Boggs, is in town this week.... but that no deal was imminent.
What say you, Cole?
"He just comes into town every year about the same time. We just kind of treat it like a normal spring training for us," Hamels said. "I know he’s got to go visit Adrian (Gonzalez) and obviously (Ben) Francisco in Dunedin, and a few other guys around. So it’s not like I’m seeing him every day, every hour. We see him just the same sort of time we normally do with having dinners and just enjoying his company."
Hamels was once again asked if it would be better to get a deal done before the season begins, so it wouldn't become a distraction. But, again, he said he's not setting a deadline.
"I’m not the type of guy that needs to put parameters and barriers," Hamels said. "It’s a situation where I think I’m more focused on being able to go out and pitch. I think that’s what I know the team wants me to do. Our ultimate goal is to win a World Series, not play for a contract."
If Hamels and the Phillies do strike a deal, it's not out of the realm of possibility that the Phillies could celebrate that by giving Hamels, their longest-tenured pitcher, the nod for his first career Opening Day start.
The (very) heavy odds are that Roy Halladay, the ace of the Phillies aces, gets that honor. It would be Halladay's 10th straight Opening Day start, the longest active streak in the majors.
But earlier this week Halladay said he'd be open to hearing a healthy debate over the topic this spring.
“I think it’s always an honor to be in a position to do leading off the season, especially if it’s at home," Hamels said. "I’ve always wanted to, and we’ll keep waiting for the opportunity.”