In this year of his free agency, left-hander Cole Hamels has become a hot property to media outlets trying to find out where Hamels sees himself at this time next year.
But Hamels has tried to not make the situation a distraction and has insisted that money won't be the only thing that eventually goes into his final decision.
Another hint of that fact came on Friday when Hamels -- a San Diego native -- told the San Diego Union Tribune about how jilted he felt when the core group of the 1998 Padres was broken up quickly.
"I was a huge Padres fan in '98," Hamels said. "I was in eighth grade, and I remember playing a Pony League game in Carmel Mountain, and we had the radio on for the (Padres') playoff game against Houston. When (Jim) Leyritz hit that big homer, we were so pumped. We're losing our own game, but we're out there high-fiving each other over Leyritz's home run.
"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."
So the closest that Padres fans will likely get to seeing Hamels in person will be his annual visits to Petco Park -- a place where he and the Phils appear to be very comfortable.
Hamels allowed one run, six hits and one walk in six innings Friday while striking out four to pick up his second win of the season, 4-1 over San Diego.
Hamels has won his last four starts at Petco and is 4-1 with a 1.27 ERA in six outings there.
Hamels danced in and out of trouble all night. He balked twice but also made a picture-perfect play on a safety squeeze that nailed Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso at the plate in the fourth.
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