Rollins: Hamels is ‘not going anywhere'


CLEARWATER, Fla.Jimmy Rollins is known for his spring-training predictions.He made one Thursday that will make Phillies fans very happy:Cole Hamels will be with the ballclub long beyond this season.Hell be here, Rollins told Hes not going anywhere. He was drafted by this organization, raised by this organization and became a superstar in this organization. If you know anything about this organization, that means hes not going anywhere.Its fun to talk about for talk radio and stuff like that. But hes not going anywhere. That's my opinion.
Rollins made these comments shortly after Hamels pitched 3 23 shutout innings and struck out two in a 5-4 Grapefruit League win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hamels has now pitched 5 23 innings this spring and allowed just one run.Hamels is one of the major focuses of this camp because he will be eligible for free agency at seasons end and the Phillies are trying to hammer out a contract extension with agent John Boggs, who has been in Florida all week. Both sides have interest in extending the relationship, but it wont be easy. Boggs has said he is seeking an elite contract, and that probably means a long-term deal with an average annual value of more than 20 million.Rollins was a free agent after last season. From the beginning of his free agency, it was difficult to imagine him in another uniform. Like Hamels, he had been drafted and developed by the Phillies and became a star with the club. He ended up re-signing for four years and 38 million.Rollins on Thursday was asked whether he believed the Phillies could be contenders for the life of his contract.Yes, he said. As long as we obviously keep the guys we have here now because they are a very big part of the belief system that were a good team, and we have the best pitching and we build off of that.Thats how the subject of Hamels and his free agency came up.Rollins was subsequently asked if he believed it was important for the Phillies to retain the 28-year-old lefthander.Yes, he said. Yes.Rollins was asked how big of a loss it would be if Hamels made it to the free-agent market and signed elsewhere. He did not directly answer the question, but his response was quite pointed.Oh, they can sign Hamels, Rollins said. Its just will they? And they probably will. But its definitely not a financial situation. I dont give a damn about the luxury tax or nothing. Its not a financial situation. You sell out a hundred something straight games, they have plenty enough money to sign a pitcher like Cole Hamels.Hes a very big part of this. Theres no doubt about it.Hamels will surely appreciate the support he received from Rollins, even though he says free agency is not on his mind.Im focused on pitching, he said Thursday. My ultimate goal is to win a World Series, not play for a contract.
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