The ballpark was still pretty empty around noon, about an hour before first pitch between the Phillies and Brewers. But PA announcer Dan Baker came over the loudspeakers to inform fans to look up at PhanaVision to watch a special announcement. The organization was streaming the Cole Hamels' press conference live. If there was ever an indication of how much the city loves its left-handed ace, there it was.
Phils president Dave Montgomery acknowledged the organization considered that at the bargaining table. In the midst of a very disappointing season, the team didn't want to lose a fan favorite.
"We've been fortunate to have the good fan support and we wanted to do the things that hopefully give our fans the belief that good times lie ahead as well," Montgomery said.
Hamels seemed to indicate that if he could play for free that he would.
"Money has never been the issue or reason why I get on that mound every day and try to win ball games," he said. "I know it just comes with it, but ultimately I play because I purely enjoy the game and want to win, and this, I feel, is the best opportunity for me to win another championship."
To which Phillies GM Ruben Amaro replied, "You would have played for free?"
Well, not exactly. Hamels fully intends to cash that record-setting paycheck.
"I learned in economics there's no such thing as a free lunch," Hamels said.
It's not just the rotation
eating up a huge chunk of change, here's a look at the lineup heading into 2013:
1B Ryan Howard
Due $25 million
2B Chase Utley
Due $15 million
SS Jimmy Rollins
Due $11 million
3B Placido Polanco
Due $5.5 million, but club option ($1 million buyout)
C Carlos Ruiz
$5 million, option, they'll look for longterm deal
RF Hunter Pence
Arbitration-eligible, would command $14 million
CF Shane Victorino
Likely to be traded
LF John Mayberry Jr.
Dom Brown? Both are cheap