Tim Kurkjian: “If The Phillies Really Wanted (Cole Hamels) Back, They’d Be Deep In Negotiations Right Now”
Throughout the 2012 season, Cole Hamels has meant refuge for the Phillies. (When he's pitching. When his impending free agency is on the docket? Well...) Dude's 8-2 (a win total tied for the MLB lead) with a 2.81 ERA (by far the best on his club), and if you peep his game log, you'll find armfuls of quality starts in definitive moments. Like, say, that he (1) started the team's home opener, (2) stopped series sweeps of the Nationals (twice) and Mets (once), (3) went 2-0 on what was otherwise a shaky, 5-5 west coast crawl, (4) beat Boston for the Phils one-and-only win, and so on. Yeah. He's done, and meant, a lot.
Yet here we are, in June, and we know more about Russell Brand's late-night sketch debut than we do anything about re-signing Hamels. Does he want to come back? Does the team really want him? Can they afford him? Will Hamels make affording him easier? We can speculate. (I will: Yes, Yes, Yes, No.) But we've heard precisely pin drops on any and all prospects therein.
Buster Olney reported last week Cole's on the precipice of a blockbuster. But whether that will be with Philadelphia (or whether either side is trying to make that happen, and how hard) is completely unknown. Really. We've got nothing. And that's somewhat alarming to ESPN's Tim Kurkjian.
"I think the Phillies do want him back, and he does have the upper hand. But if they really, really, really wanted him back, they'd be deep in negotiations now, to make sure (Hamels) doesn't get away."
Which the two sides aren't, and, consequently -- depending on how definitive a take you figure Kurkjian's prognostication -- Hamels may.
The odds? Well...
"I'm not counting the Phillies out, because they have to look at this and say, 'Well, he's our best pitcher. How are we gonna let our best pitcher walk away after the season?' It's gonna be very complicated from here, and I'm not sure what's gonna happen."
(Aside: Gotta love Kurkjian's sort-of sensationalizing, broadcasty delivery there. The best.)
Though, the inherent undertone there has to be one of worry. If the prevailing rationale for this thing getting done is that the Phillies would be bonkers to do let anything else happen (really? that's all we've got to cling to?) especially considering all the obvious obstacles (his age and throwing arm and resume and So Cal roots and the Matt Cain deal and the otherwise lean free agent pitching market), you're basically volunteering your heart up for use in a Brazilian hacky sack tournament. Rough, I know.