CLEARWATER, Fla. — Roy Halladay will rarely discuss specific teammates, expect for the rare time he bestows labels like "The National League's Derek Jeter" on Chase Utley. But Halladay surprisingly fielded a question about Cole Hamels' impending free agency and answered thoughtfully.
“You never know what the future holds," Halladay said. "I think the biggest unknown for any pitcher is health. But the ability, the talent – it's all there. It's all there and he's shown that. His knowledge, maturity – everything is above and beyond.
"He's a big part of this team and I think that is going to be the priority, having him here. He's obviously been a franchise player since Day 1 and hopefully that continues. I think it's tough when it's a first major contract for a player. You have to do the best you can for yourself and your family, and I understand that. That makes negotiations sometimes maybe tough. You want to do the best you can. But I feel like Cole and the Phillies both are going to do the best that they can. I don't think either one is out to get the other.
"I'd love to see him here as long as he possibly can be here. He deserves it. He's been here through all the winning years and hopefully he gets to continue that."
That got us wondering: How do Halladay and Hamels stack up through their first six full seasons?
Both were 27 after their sixth full season. Halladay's path toward greatness, sidetracked by a career-changing demotion to the minors, has looked nothing like Hamels'.
Since 2004, Halladay's sixth full season, he has earned $102 million in guaranteed salary. He's due another $40 million over the next two years with another $20 million option for 2014.
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