Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins was asked Thursday by CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury where he envisions left-hander Cole Hamels opening the 2013 season:
“He’ll be here,” Rollins replied. “He’s 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 he’s not going anywhere. It’s fun to talk about for talk radio and stuff like that. But he’s not going anywhere. That’s my opinion.”
It’s exactly the type of thing you’d expect a teammate to say, but Rollins is probably being too optimistic. Hamels has registered a sparkling 2.92 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 405 strikeouts and just 105 walks over the past two seasons and could hit the jackpot in free agency if his ace-like numbers continue in 2012. For him to sign now with Philadelphia, it would take a contract extension worth well over $100 million. And there’s been no indication from general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. that an offer like that is coming. The Dodgers, who will soon have a new, deep-pocketed owner, are likely to be major players in the Hamel sweepstakes if the 28-year-old southpaw indeed reaches the free agent market.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.