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Cole Hamels: not a fan of homegrown stars leaving via free agency

Apr 20, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

Cole Hamels, who grew up a Padres fan, spoke to the Union-Tribune yesterday about how much of a bummer it was to see players leave via free agency when he was a kid:

“I mean, I loved that team, and all of a sudden it disappeared. I remember watching Fred McGriff before that, loving that guy, and boom, he’s gone. I think it’s hard to be a fan to devote your time to players, then see them leave like that.

“It’s not the fans. They alienate their own fans by not keeping guys around, especially the guys they develop. They won’t keep an Adrian Gonzalez or go get that big-name guy. That’s just hard on a fan.”

No word on whether that’s gonna fuel a hometown discount from Philly. You know, for the 2012 version of little Cole Hamels from, say, south Jersey, who loves watching Hamels like he loved watching Fred McGriff.

  1. singingfriar - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    How is that the fault of small market teams?

    • ezthinking - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:23 PM

      Pretty clear from recent contracts that ‘small market’ is not an excuse. They just need to strike quicker to take care of “market inefficiencies” like locking in pre-arb and arb paydays.

    • soobster - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:24 PM

      It’s the fault of the “small market” team because they’re making a choice not to pay a player to stay when they certainly have the money. The general public gives too much credence to the “small market” excuse but when you look at their P&L by Forbes they are some of the most profitable teams. They’re choosing to fatten their pockets through various revenue streams available to them by MLB like revenue sharing/luxury taxes and essentially have their low bottom dwelling payrolls subsidized by MLB.

      San Diego could have kept Gonzo just like Atlanta could have kept Tex. They made a choice. It’s like any other business. You want to keep turnover down and keep talent in the building? Pay them.

  2. Jeremy Fox - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Fuel a hometown discount? You could read it either way. It takes both sides to agree a contract. Teams can’t force guys to stay any more than guys can force teams to keep them. Presumably if Hamels leaves he’ll blame the team, the team will blame him, and they’ll both be right (or wrong, depending on your point of view).

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    I really wouldn’t take anything away from this. We’ll see what happens.

    • natstowngreg - Apr 20, 2012 at 6:10 PM

      Agreed. Hamels’ sentiment is nice, but it may or may not stand up to real contract offers when the time comes. Likewise, the Phillies will have to make a hard decision about how much he’s worth in the long run.

  4. ezthinking - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    And what exactly is Hamels talking about. McGriff was an Yankees prospect traded to Toronto. San Diego traded Robbie Alomar and Joe Carter to get McGriff and Tony Fernandez from Toronto. Then San Diego traded the Crime Dog off to get crappy prospects.

    If you’re going to bitch, then argue San Diego should have kept home grown Alomar.

  5. drakosm - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    So teams are supposed to keep their homegrown stars (and he does have an interesting definition of homegrown) and he wants them to sign big name free agents. Where do they come from if all the teams are keeping their homegrown stars? What it really sounds like is that he wants teams to spend lots of money. Now that’s not exactly a shocking position for a player to have.

  6. aceshigh11 - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    He seems to be boxing himself into a corner with those comments, wouldn’t you say?

    If he does leave, this is going to come back to haunt him.

  7. jimbo1949 - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    Padres just signed a new cable TV contract this year, where’s the nostalgia for Channel 4 San Diego?

  8. gloccamorra - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    That was the fire sale under the Tom Werner group, and it was all the owners’ fault. Joan Kroc sold to the local group (except for Werner) at a bargain rate, and most of them were net worth rich but cash flow poor. When the all-star team had two lackluster seasons and attendance dipped, the owners decided to do a slash and burn, then sold out – at a profit.

    Hamels was something like nine years old, and didn’t yet know “favorite” players change teams all the time. Besides, the fire sale was 1993 and in 1996 the Padres won the division, and two years later in 1998 were in the World Series. I guess Cole was into girls by then and didn’t notice.

    • ezthinking - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      and that ’98 team got Petco built and the owners broke the team down again because, I guess, its too nice a place to play baseball.

  9. brewcrewfan54 - Apr 20, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Didn’t Hamels already state publicly he would not be giving a hometown discount?

    • aceshigh11 - Apr 20, 2012 at 6:15 PM

      I believe he did. That’s why I found his comments puzzling.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:10 PM

        Thank you. I was pretty sure I wasn’t making it up and I hadn’t started drinking yet so I thought I was right.

  10. florida76 - Apr 20, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Yet another reason why the NFL is king, it possess a smarter system in which everyone wins. Unlike MLB, small market teams routinely win titles because they can keep teams together for a much longer period of time. The salary cap, ability to franchise players, are part of the more intelligent system, and the NFL continues to thrive. The NFL continues to crush MLB in postseason ratings, because everyone wants to watch, regardless of the teams. In the asinine MLB system, many clubs have no chance, so fans of those cities are less inclined to watch.

    • ezthinking - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:10 PM

      good try troll. this ratings thing has been covered over here a few dozen times. you lose.

  11. micker716 - Apr 20, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Cole’s just trying to backtrack from some comments he made to Heyman earlier in the year regarding Padres fans and why he couldn’t see himself returning to play for his hometown team. Heyman tweeted Hamel’s response:

    “why would i want to go where fans only support you from the 3rd inn. thru the 6th?’

    Mom and Dad still live in the SD area and didn’t really appreciate it.

  12. walrushooker - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Just as disappointing as watching high school stars leave….

    Secondarily, to keep on with Florida’s point:
    If the MLB was smart enough to realize that small market teams are so hindered without a revenue sharing system, it would help. There are without a doubt, drawbacks to the steinbrener and jerry jones type organizations, but they’re helped just as much by the increased popularity of the sport because all teams every year have a chance at the pinstripes. For me personally, salary cap isn’t as important as revenue sharing.

    • gloccamorra - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:45 PM

      But… MLB HAS revenue sharing. Each team pays 31% of certain revenue, and it’s all distributed equally. Smaller market teams get more back than they paid in. TV rights are local in MLB, while the NFL’s huge national TV money is pooled and shared equally – that’s the big difference.

  13. BigBeachBall - Apr 21, 2012 at 7:13 AM

    kick the cap in earlier and raise it higher than mt everest…. padres would have 6 championships in their clubhouse if this was done…. 100% positive here..

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