Like Mike Singletary, Cole Hamels wants winners. Or, rather, one winner. This was not news to Ruben Amaro Jr. Hamels has previous expressed his preference to be traded to a team that isn't looking at a two-to-three year rebuilding process.
"I thought it was pretty much what he said earlier this offseason, i think," Amaro said Thursday after the Phillies' first workout with pitchers and catchers. "Listen, all of these guys want to play for competitive and winning teams. Thats the nature of the beast. These guys are human beings, they want to win. And they're athletes. My job is to create that atmosphere again and it may take a little time to get there. But i don't have nay problem with Cole - maybe he could have chosen his words a little but differently - but i don't have a problem with that at all because i know he wants to compete and i fully expect him to do so. He's a very professional guy, he's going to go out and pitch, and he's going to do his job here."
Is there a point in time Hamels will demand a trade?
"Unless the rules have changed, I don't think you can actually demand a trade," Amaro said.
Point for the general manager, for those scoring at home.
"As I've said, he's one of those guys that sits in the sweet spot for us - he's going to be a tremendous asset if he stays with us, and if we get to the point where we move him, it's going to be because we get assets back that are going to move us forward," Amaro said. "He's in our camp. I fully expect him to pitch on Opening Day for us. I'm glad to have him. He's one of the best pitchers in the game and I'm happy to move forward with him and get us going back on track."
What about the other veterans in camp?
"As far as I'm concerned, these are the guys in camp these are the guys that are going to help us try to win baseball games this spring and into the season," Amaro said. "Again, there's a lot of talk about us rebuilding and these guys being disgruntled and all of that stuff. (But) these guys are all professionals, and they're going to play and pitch and they're going to do their best to win baseball games for the Phillies, I'm sure of that. And I'm confident and I feel very positive that they can still do that on some level."
Amaro said he has spoken to Hamels and the other veterans since they've arrived. Most of the veteran hitters are not yet in camp, including Ryan Howard.
"i've had very positive reaction from all of them so far," Amaro said. "Without getting into the discussions, these guys are going to be prepared to do their jobs. They're professionals, they know how to go about their business to prepare for the season and thats what i expect them to do"
Is he confident in his ability to trade them?
"Right now we're focusing on them being here and getting ready for the season," he said. "What happens beyond that, we'll see where it goes.
How about Hamels assessment htat the Phillies do not have a chance to surprise people?
"Maybe I would have liked for him (Cole) to have chosen his words a little differently, but it's totally understandable," Amaro said. "Cole wants to win. I think everyone is on kind of the same page - we all want to win. And we're going to try to wi as many baseball games as we possibly can. And I think the tone gets started right here in spring training. I think that Ryno is right. A lot of things have to fall right for us to be a contender this year, but that doesn't mean we don't try to win every single baseball game when we go on the field."
Did Cole's comment dampen the team's mood, though?
"Not for me it doesn't," Amaro said. "I think other people might try to dampen - outside our organization. But I think everybody is very positive about where we want to go."
What about the effect on younger guys who see a a leader of the team saying the team's going to stink? Amaro downplayed that too.