Shane Victorino

Shane Victorino has unique perspective on Cole Hamels' situation

Rob Bradford
February 21, 2015 - 12:18 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The much-anticipated Cole Hamels press conference Saturday wasn't exactly what some had banked on. After telling USA Today earlier in the week that he would like to be traded to a team that compete, not viewing his current club, the Phillies, as one of those clubs, Hamels backed off his proclamation in the presser in Clearwater. "You can't count us out," Hamels said, going on to explain the USA Today quotes were a continuation from a January interview. When asked if he still wanted to move on, his response was, "I'm a Phillie." Shane Victorino, for one, wouldn't mind terribly if that changed. "Do I take that lefty? Hands down," the Red Sox (and former Phillies) outfielder said. When asked if he would support acquiring such an acquisition if asked by Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, Victorino added, "I'll text him myself, ahead of time. But it's easier said than done. There's a bigger picture an organization has to look at. "We have a whole spring training ahead of us to decide things. What if the five we have now, which I'll take every day, go out and dominate spring training. Then we don't need something. Would it be good to have another dominating arm? Of course. But don't count these guys out, either. And I hope they use the motivation of, 'You think we need to get Cole Hamels?' No, no, no. I'll take those guys as bona fide number ones, too. It is what it is. I love Cole and I'll take him any day on my team, but I'll take the five we've got now if they can get back to where they were, and I think they can." The Red Sox have shown interest in Hamels, but the Phillies are clinging to their ace and asking for more than the Sox (or any other team) are willing to give up. Other than risking injury, there wouldn't appear to be any urgency to deal Hamels considering he still has four year (at $90 million) with a $20 million fifth-year club option on his current deal. Even if the Phillies weren't to contend this year, they might need such a top-of-the-rotation talent sooner than later. Victorino knows the player, and he also understands where Hamels was coming from when making his opinion known about the current state of the Phillies. "Cole's been there. Cole's done it," Victorino said. "The guy is a former World Series MVP. The accolades speak for themselves. What people sometimes don't talk about is his desire to be a winner. For me, it could have been worded differently in what he said. I understand what he's trying to say. Did it come across incorrect? Yes. That's not Cole. That's not the type of player he is. He's always been about his teammates. He's always been conscious about being the best player he can be, which in turn makes others around him good. But, again, it's going to get blow out of proportion because of the way he said it. "For me, I know one thing about that guy and he wants to win. He's a winner and he wants to take that mound. He comes off as a nonchalant, happy-go-lucky kind of kid, but when it comes down to it, I'll take him any day." As surprised as Victorino was about Hamels' proclamation that the Phillies couldn't contend in '15, he also immediately harkened back to 2006 when former Philadelphia general manager (and current Phillies president) Pat Gillick made a similar suggestion. "The run we had in Philly as a group was one of the greatest, in my opinion and a lot of opinions," Victorino said. "To win five straight divisions? That's tough to win the division five years in a row. I look at the good times. It's not so far in their past. It's right in their grasp. In a matter of two or three years ... it's happened before under the guy who is back in charge. "At the time (back in '06) we were like, 'Really, our GM is calling us out? Let's go shock some people. We've got nothing to lose.' Then the wheels start turning and the next thing you know in 2008 we're holding the trophy as the best team in baseball. People don't understand that. They're not far off."