Cole Hamels could become the rare pitcher who signs his first $20-million-per-year contract before he makes his first Opening Day start. Brett Myers started Opening Day in 2007, 2008 and 2009, while Roy Halladay got the nod in 2010 and 2011. Halladay will probably be the guy again this year. Whether Hamels gets his contract before then remains to be seen.
Agent John Boggs has been in Florida for the past few days, but Hamels said he does not bog himself down in contract talks between the two sides.
"He just comes into town every year about the same time," said Hamels, who threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings against the Pirates today. "We're just going to treat it like a normal spring training for us. I know he's got to go visit guys, with Adrian and Francisco up in Dunedin. He has a few other guys around. It's not like I'm seeing him every day, every hour. We see him the same sort of time that we usually do, having dinners and enjoying his company."
Hamels repeated an earlier statement that he does not plan on setting a deadline for a new contract.
"Like I said before, it's a situation that I know they are going to be able to discuss," Hamels said. "I'm not the type of guy who is going to put parameters and barriers. It's a situation where I think I'm more focused on being able to go out and pitch, and I know that's what the team wants me to be able to do, because our ultimate goal is to win a World Series, not play for a contract."
As for Opening Day. . .
"I think it's always an honor to be in a position to do it, leading off the season for your team, especially if it's at home, it's something that's pretty enjoyable," Hamels said. "I've always wanted to. I'll just keep waiting for the opportunity."