Hamels: No Deadline, Wants to Stay
Here are a few highlights:
Q: Are you setting a deadline to reach an extension?
A: No. No, I don’t have any deadline. I think the only deadline that is set is by Major Leauge Baseball with (exclusive negotiating rights) five days after the World Series.
Q: So nothing needs to be settled by Opening Day or anything?
A: No, no, no. I’m just going out and getting ready for this year. that’s my main focus. It’s to get as strong as possible throughout spring training and go into the season and try to help this team win. That’s everything I’ve always been able to focus on, especially since we haven’t been back to the World Series in a couple of years, that’s kind of the main focus that I’m going to put every ounce of energy going toward.
Q: In your heart, do you want to be a Phillie for a long time?
A: I was very fortunate enough to be drafted to an organization that is trying to win and obviously has won. Every day, every year we seem to get some top players. So that kind of shows the value and the direction the team wants to go. I’ve just been very fortunate to be a part of it. And it’s also something where I don’t know any better, I live in Philadelphia. I’ve been here for I guess 10 years now, so that’s been something that’s been kind of nice, kind of something I’ve been focused on. It’s a great organization to play for and I’d love to be a part of it.
Q: Are Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee good comparisons for you in terms of your next contract?
A: Those are two guys that are two of the best pitchers in major league baseball and for a substantial amount of years. I think being able to finally given sort of that stage where you feel you know everything but you don’t, I’ve been able to get stronger and a lot more intelligent baseball-wise, that, its just taking the next step to do what those two have done, which is to go out there and repeat, have successful years and stay healthy. That’s ultimately the big picture, to stay healthy, go out, play and help your team. That’s kind of where I’m at right now, to go out there and do it. And if I’m able to do it then things will obviously take care of itself.
Q: Phillies have done a good job of retaining their core players. Does that make you confident things will work out?
A: Ever since I’ve been here they’ve been able to do a really good job of keeping the guys that they draft, especially the guys that they like. I just hope I’m one of those guys that they like.
Q: How do you feel about free agency? Excited? Intrigued?
A: Truly I’ve just never even thought about it. I’ve been so focused on trying to get healthy and because of the way the season ended last year and not being able to go to the World Series and win it with the expectations, I’ve been more fired up about that.
Q: Are you willing to take less to stay here?
A: The only way to answer that is I don’t know any better. All I ultimately want to do is play for a winning team, and the Phillies want to be a winning team. That’s ultimately the best way I can describe what I want to do is I want to play for a winner, and the Phillies want to win. They have two great pitchers that are here. What better way to get mentored by the best of the best? You can’t ask for anything more. To compete at a level where you’re playing with the best players, it ups your game even more and I’ve been able to learn from that and take it into my game.”
Q: How do you weigh potential health issues in your contract negotiations?
A: Baseball if you do it really well you can make a ton of money, but ultimately I play this game because I love to do it and I want to be the best at it. If you’re able to do that, the money obviously comes. But I’m a pretty conservative guy, and money’s not the ultimate answer to anything. It’s really about going out and enjoying where you are, your teammates and the city and I seem to really enjoy Philadelphia.
Q: Given fact you’ve have some nagging injuries over the years, do you view signing later as a risk at all?
A: No, just for the fact that when you do get injured, and I’ve been injured a few times … I guess, yeah, the weird nagging injuries that you don’t really expect, I really haven’t had the serious surgeries. I know how to overcome them. I know how to rehab. I know how to get through them. They’re not going to mentally take me down. I know how to come back and be just as strong or as capable as I always was.
Are they negotiating currently?
I know they’re supposed to. (laughs) That’s all I can say. I know they’re supposed to.