Philadelphia Phillies spring training camp is probably going to be pretty awkward this year.
Consider Cole Hamels‘ statements in an interview with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:
“I just want to win. 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.”
While we’d all be inclined to agree with Hamels’ assessment of the Phillies’ chances, it’s still pretty shocking to see a baseball player speak that openly about his team being a bad one. But then again, Hamels doesn’t really see the Phillies as his team anymore – he wants out.
“I want to go to a place where I can win again,” Hamels told USA Today Sports. “It’s not like I’m a hired gun. I’ve got four or five years left on my contract. I want to help that team win just like I did here.”
So, that’s going to be an interesting storyline to watch until Ruben Amaro Jr. does finally trade away his ace for whatever return he can get.
The Phillies’ first base situation is another potential source of fun.
Amaro made no secret of wanting Ryan Howard off of his team. In a December radio interview with 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli, the Phillies GM said, “We’ve talked to Ryan. And I told him that in our situation it would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him. With that said if he’s with us, then we’ll work around him.”
Howard is still a Phillie, and it looks like he’s still the starting first baseman… for now.
Manager Ryne Sandberg offered this ambivalent endorsement to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:
“Right now, unless he gets unseated, he’s the first baseman. He needs to prepare himself to be the best first baseman he can be.”
The implosion of the Phillies “dynasty” continues like a slow-motion train wreck.