Cole Hamels rolled into Philadelphia Phillies spring training Wednesday and made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t expect to stick around too much longer.
Hamels, the subject of many trade rumors since the end of the 2014 season, said he welcomes a trade out of Philadelphia. The ace lefty says he wants to win and he knows for sure that’s not happening soon in a Phillies uniform.
The words flow out of Cole Hamels’ mouth without hesitation, equivocation, or the slightest tinge of remorse. He wants to be traded from the Philadelphia Phillies. This is not a threat. He is not demanding a trade.
He’s not about to insult the Phillies, or say anything derogatory that would alienate himself from the only team that’s employed him.
“I just want to win,” Hamels told USA TODAY Sports in his first interview since the end of the 2014 season. “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.”
Plenty of teams would take Hamels — he threw 204 innings last season, striking out 198 and carrying a 2.46 ERA. The Boston Red Sox have been linked to him most frequently, but the San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers were reportedly interested at one point or another during the offseason. Hamels is owed $22.5 million annually for the next four years, which is a hefty paycheck, but in line with what an ace costs right now.
The problem will be coming up with a trade package that satisfies Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who has made no secret that the price for Hamels is high. The Red Sox reportedly made an offer for Hamels already. Their need for an ace would seem to make them the favorite to land him.
Hamels was specifically asked Wednesday whether he’d like to join the Red Sox and he said:
“Of course, I would,” Hamels says. “It’s a fun city. There’s no better feeling than to have a chance to win every year, and they give you that chance. I’m all ears.”