Cole Hamels has spent his first decade as a professional baseball player in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. He might spend the next decade here, too.
Hamels avoied free agency and signed a six-year, $144 million contract (which includes a vesting option for the seventh season) and made no bones that his priority was the stick with the Phillies throughout. The 28-year-old San Diegan wants to finish his career here, too.
Here is today's press conference in it's entirety:
Opening thoughts from Ruben Amaro Jr.: "(It was) long and laborious but
we got to the finish line and that was the goal. The goal was to try to keep
Cole in our uniform for the foreseeable future and we certainly have done that. It I
a 6-year deal, which is unprecedented as far as the Phillies are concerned. But
I think we did it with the right person and the right family.
“Cole grew up with us. He’s still
growing. He has an occasional blip on the screen when it comes to quotes from
time to time, but he’s a Phillie through and through and we hope to have him
maybe even beyond this contract. He’s a special player, he’s someone who’s
grown up in our organization. We think he’s one of the elite lefthanders in the
game. We’re happy to have gotten it done. We hope to give ourselves a chance
and we think this is the best way to give ourselves a chance to bring home
another championship here in Philadelphia, with Cole than without him. And
we’ve expressed that to him pretty explicitly. With that I’ll turn the comments
over to Cole.”
Cole Hamels' opening statement:
“I’d really like to just thank the
organization for giving me the opportunity ever since I was 18 years old and
drafting me. I know I had a lot of speculation and where I could be slotted and
just the concerns for what I was going through at the time at 18. And for them
to draft me and make me their first-round pick and take me through the system
even throughout the injuries that I had, they really helped show me the way to
the big leagues.
“And to keep me up here had been
outstanding ever since I’ve been here. I’ve seen an organization I knew nothing
about growing up on the West Coast, getting a new stadium, building a team
around some great core players to win. That’s ultimately everybody’s desire
when they play the game. To win. And this is something we’ve been able to do
heer and that’s something I want to be able to continue.
“We’ve got great guys on this team but,
you know, I think it really does show the organization, what David and Ruben
have been able to do ever since I’ve been here. And Pat. It’s here to win and
to win multiple championships. We got one in ’08. As much as I did my part I’d
still kind of like to do more. It’s something to where it went too fast. And
that’s ultimately where I want to make it happen again, as many times as
possible just so I think I can remember them.
“Seeing the types of turnouts the fans
have done. I think that’s one of the best parts about playing the game of
baseball. You know, we play this game because we enjoy it but we play it
because there’s fans who want to see us play it. You know, the fans are
enjoying every single moment that we’re able to go out there and do the best
the best we can. The city of Phialdelphia has been absolutely outstanding and
that’s kind of where you really do, at the end of the day, good game or bad
game, you realize that there was a sellout watching every move that you played.
And talking about every move you played and can’t wait for the next one.
That’s, I know my teammates and a lot of guys in the big leagues, that’s why we
love this game so much, it’s because fans appreciate what we’re able to do. The
250 sellouts is something pretty impressive here in Philadelphia and for many
more to come. I know that’s what the organization wants, I know that’s what the
players want, I know that’s what the fans want.
“It really showed me something the
other day when when I was pitching here. You don’t know if it’s your last start
here in a Philleis uniform or if it’s just your last start in general. To be
able to see the way they came out in that eighth inning, I know it didn’t end
as well as I wanted, to see the way they really gave support, that’s what
ultimately I’ll always remember every time I go out there. It really does mean
“And I know words can’t really
describe the emotions you’ve got, especially when you want things to go so
well. But to have the fans standing and cheering, I think that was ultimo,ately
the deciding point, wanting to really be here because of them. Just the way
we’ve worked this thing out. I’ve always wanted to keep it open. I’ve never
been that type of player who wants to put a timeline on anything. I wanted to give
the team that’s given me the benefit of the doubt and has trusted me to go out
and play the game I love so much, I wanted to give them every opportunity to
get the say-so and ultimately it’s worked out for the best.”
Q: Why now? You could have waited three months, hit open market,
maybe be the highest paid pitcher in baseball?
Hamels: "It really was, just the way it worked out in the past couple
days, I wanted to give the Phillies every opportunity. It’s very hard to leave
a place you’ve had so many great memories and have been able to enjoy so much
good, and you know there’s so much more good to come; you don’t want to miss
it, you don’t want to not be a part of it. I know the Phillies, the
organization is always going to do a good job of going out to win. We have
great players here. So you don’t want to leave that, stray away, see them win
and not be a part of it. So it was something that came down to that. I
understand free agency is great, the opportunities that are out there, the
unknown. But I really do feel this is the place I call home and the place I
want to call home for a really long time. I grew up watching Tony Gwynn play
and he made San Diego his home for his entire career. And that’s ultimately
what I want to make here in Philadelphia."
Q: Ruben, what made you comfortable going six years, maybe
seven, a deal that hasn’t been made in franchise’s history?
Amaro: I don’t if it would be comfortable, but we felt like it was
the right thing to do understand the circumstance, with his performance, his
age, the importance on our club. Our goal is to be a championship caliber team
for now and for the future. As I’ve said before, I think we have a much better
chance with Cole in our rotation and as a major part of our club, than without
Q: Cliff (Lee) turned down more money to come here. Do you feel you
passed up opportunity to make more money? Is a certain amount of million enough
Hamels: When I played this game… I was one the phone with my dad a
couple of days ago. I mentioned to him, I never imagined I’d be in this position,
ever. And I love this game so much, you just want to go out and enjoy it. You
want to play for a reason, and that reason is to win a World Series, to play in
front of sell-out crowds, to play in front of a supposed Philly nation of fans,
that are everywhere, here and on the road, that are cheering you on. That’s the
reason we play this game. You want to play for as long as you possibly can
until they take the ball out of your hand and tell us we can’t. Money has never
been an issue or the reason I get on that mound every day to try to win
ballgames. I know it comes with it, but ultimately play because i purely enjoy
the game, I want to win. And I feel this is the best oporutinty to win a
chanpionshup again, is with the Phillies.
Amaro interjects: "You’d play for free? Now all of a sudden I’m very
Q: Roy Halladay said he and Cliff twisted your arm to re-sign.
How much was it that, how much was it getting to number. And Ruben, why did
this take so long?
Hamels: Having Doc and Cliff, they are a big part of why I want to
be here, to be with two of the best pitchers in baseball and be able to go out
there and have the confidence that you’re playing with guys who are the most
talented pitchers in baseball, you can learn a lot from them and you can feed off
them. And I think all three of us, we can feed off of each other. And when we
get rolling, I think we have the confidence that no one can stop us.
Q: .... and the number the Phillies had to meet?
Hamels: "That’s a good question
for my agent."
Amaro: We don’t discuss our negotiation.
Q: What were the factors that made you want to stay?
Hamels: "First and foremost you want
to be in the city that wants you to be here, wants you to play, wants to win.
Ultimately, that’s why we started our foundation here. To give back to the
people that accepted us and took us in. We really feel like we’ve done a lot in
the community and there is so much more we want to do to get our message out. I
think this really allows us to accomplish what we set out to in the beginning.
I think we can reach a lot more children, teachers, parents of the mission we
have, education is the answer to a lot of problems that we have. It’s going to
really help us out. It is. Ultimately, we’ve been here, we’ve lived here for a
number of years. We’re happy to live here for numerous more years.
Q: You have three pitchers that will make a combined $70 million. Are you comfortable with financial flexibility that creates?
Amaro: As far as the pitchers salaries are concerned, when you retain
some of the best pitchers in the game they’re going to be costly. It’s really
kind of my job to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. We don’t have an
open wallet. It’s not how it works. It’s not how any business would work. It’s
my job to try to put the pieces together in the right fashion. We have a lot of
decisions to make, but the one thing that is clear is that we’re committed to
winning. We’re committed to bringing another championship if we can do that.
And we’re committed to continue to try to improve, whether it be during the
course of this deadline, whether it be beyond that in the offseason, our job in
the front office is try to do what we can to improve the club. Money is not
necessarily the deciding factor on being a contending club. It helps. There’s
no question about it. We’ve been given a tremendous amount of leeway. Our
partnership group has been extraordinarily supportive of that. But it’s also
our job to try to put the right pieces together. And hopefully we can do a good
job of doing just that.
Q: What were those talks with Roy and Cliff like, when you talked contract, hearing them tell you to stay?
Hamels: "I think it
was more them prodding me for the information. The way I’ve always been is kind
of kept all these negotiations to myself. When they get done everybody will
know. I know Doc always had questions and desires, not as much as Cliff. When
you have a locker next to Cliff and you see him 24-7 … just to have those two
guys that I’m going to be able to pitch with is pretty exciting. I hope they
feel the same way."
Q: Did you get any assurances from the organization they'd still be able to pay others and keep a winning team on the field after this contract?
Hamels: I think he said he was going to sign me and sell me. The main
part was knowing that this organization wants to win, and I understand the fans
want to win. The fans keep showing up.
Q: But did you ask them specifically about that?
Amaro interjects: I answered that for him actually. We did have a discussion about
it. We talked about it. We did discuss the fact, the magnitude of the contract,
would it hinder us from doing some other things? In some cases it might, but
again as I’ve told him, our goal remains the same, to try to put pieces of the
puzzle around these core players to make sure we’re a championship caliber
Q: Are you buyers or sellers with trade deadline looming?
Amaro: We’re just going to try to improve the club as much as we can,
whether it’s improving for 2012 and beyond or for 2013 and beyond. A lot will
be dictated by the way we play.
Q: How close were you to testing market?
Hamels: What, was it 10 days ago we
got it really narrowed down? You understand the magnitude of what could happen.
I'm not a business-type guy. But if the team is going in a different direction,
then A. you want to always try to make the team winning. When the negotiations
finally picked up, that was when I really knew they were fully committed to
trying to keep me. I was very excited about it. It puts any sort of thought of
testing the market... this is what I know. This is where I wanted to be. This
is why we allowed for us to have than open negotiations.
Q: Think there was a point when you
wouldn't be here?
Hamels: Probably what, seven days?
If we hadn't narrowed things down or talk then it probably would have been
Amaro: That was a possibility. But
the reality was the goal never really changed. Our job in the baseball
operations department is to explore all areas of possibile improvement.
Ultimately, we decided the best way to improve was to keep what we have and try
to move forward from there. Was it a possibility? Sure it was. But it certainly
wasn't our goal. Our goal remained the same, to keep Cole.
Q: Recent play affect deadline?
Amaro: I think it will. But in a
lot of way we have our whole arensal together. The biggest thing we have is the
presence of those big three -- Roy, Chase and Ryan in the middle of the lineup.
That was the club we hoped to have coming out of spring training. Injuries are
a part of the game. All we can do is try to play the best possible baseball we
can and hope we can put ourselves in a position to get back into this thing.
Q: Your concerns about staying because of team's current state?
Hamels: Ultimately, I think
winning. To play in an organization where you know you're accustomed to winning
and the emotions that go with winning, it's great. When you're not winning,
your emotions can always take a turn. You always have to stay positive. It
wears you down. It's knowing the reassurances that we're always going to go out
and try to win. Finally having the Bermuda Triangle of the big three, we
finally got them back. That is what this team was built on. To have those three
guys back, that's the positive mojo you need and what I wanted to see. Knowing
I can go out and play in front of sell-out crowds here, you can never take that
away. I can never thank the fans enough. Seeing what they can do, turn the tide
against an opposing team, it's the most positive reinforcement you can have.