Hamels meets with Amaro Jr., mum on conversation

Hamels meets with Amaro Jr., mum on conversation

Hamels meets with Amaro Jr., mum on conversation
NEW YORK -- Cole Hamels had changed out of his Phillies uniform and back into his street clothes when he headed toward the visitors' clubhouse doors late Tuesday night at Citi Field.

A clubhouse attendant stopped him before he reached the exit.

"Hey, Cole, Ruben would like to see you," he said.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and Hamels met privately following Tuesday's 11-1 loss to the New York Mets. It was the first time Amaro had a chance to speak with Hamels in person since multiple reports surfaced the Phillies are calling teams, gauging their interest in him as the organization prepares to be potential sellers before the July 31 Trade Deadline.

Asked about the meeting Wednesday, Amaro only would say, "It was a private discussion."

Hamels insisted the meeting had nothing to do with his current contract status -- he can become a free agent following the season -- or the reports he could be traded before the end of the month. He also said it was not about a contract offer.

"It was about something else," Hamels said. "It's funny, though. It makes sense."

The timing of the meeting seems more than coincidental. Amaro said earlier this week he is optimistic about signing Hamels to an extension, although there have been no indications a deal is near. Hamels should be able to fetch more than the five-year, $120 million deal Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies in Dec. 2010.

Lee was 32 when he signed his deal.

Hamels is 28.

Hamels was asked if the Phillies' rocky season -- they are on pace to lose more than 90 games after winning 102 last season -- has soured him on signing a multi-year extension with the Phillies, considering their prospects of winning in the future don't look as good as they might have a few months ago.

"No, not at all," he said. "I have a good idea they're going to be competitive. Knowing David [Montgomery] and the ownership and what Ruben is trying to do, they're trying to win now, not win in 10 years. Sometimes you don't get the best ingredients at one time, but they don't give up. That's the whole idea. I don't see them giving up."

Hamels said he understands why the Phillies are talking to teams about him.

"It's the game and the business of trying to stay good for the long haul," he said. "I think sometimes you have to take your lumps when you can, but in order to do that it's going to make you a better team in the long run. Teams try to keep building. Obviously, I'm one of the pawns."

But he also said he remains optimistic he can reach an agreement with the Phillies.

"I've always been optimistic," he said. "You never turn your back on people that believe in you. From drafting me with the medical issues that I had and even all the medical issues I had in the Minor Leagues, they still believed in me, still trusted me and kept me and pushed me. I've always been a more honorable guy than anything and I'll always stay that way. It's never something where you get bitter. I've never been that guy that's ever gotten bitter and used it against somebody."

Could a deal get done before the end of the season?

"I don't know," Hamels said. "I guess it's up to both of us."