I've been around Philadelphia sports long enough to know how this is going to work.
On Wednesday, Phils ace left-hander Cole Hamels, the subject of rampant trade rumors over the last two years, told USA Today's Bob Nightengale that he would, in fact, like to be traded.
"I just want to win,'' Hamels told USA TODAY Sports in his first interview since the end of the 2014 season. "That's all. That's all any competitor wants.
"And I know it's not going to happen here.
"This isn't what I expected. It's not what the Phillies expected, either.
"But it's reality.''
Yes, it is reality. While it's true the Phillies will likely win at least a few of their games this year, the chances are better than good that the Phils will not be a playoff contender. And Hamels, now 31 years old, knows he only has so many chances to get that second World Series ring.
"The reason the Phillies committed a huge contract to me,'' says Hamels, "wasn't just to pitch in the regular season, but the postseason too. That's why they paid me that kind of money. They planned on being in the playoffs every year, or at least contending.
"I want that too. I want to be in the playoffs every year. That's where you make a name for yourself. It's not about the Cy Young awards and MVP awards. It's about winning championships. You want to be in a place where you have a chance to win.
"And when we were winning, with the fans and the passion they have for sports, it was the best place to be.''
Hamels said he'd love to go to Boston...
"Of course, I would,'' Hamels says. "It's a fun city. There's no better feeling than to have a chance to win every year, and they give you that chance.
"I'm all ears.''
...and that he loves St. Louis too. If only those teams would offer a worthy package for him...
But the Phillies are not going to move Hamels until they get a deal they like. Hamels knows that, and is preparing for the 2015 season as if he will be a Phillie.
"So you make sure you're professional about it. You don't do anything stupid. You don't say anything stupid. You just prepare yourself for the season. Whether I'm here or not for opening day, it doesn't change anything, or the way I feel toward the Phillies.
"I'll always be the same guy.''
The Phillies have had issues in the past with players talking their way out of town. Curt Schilling wanted out after years of losing. And Scott Rolen really never liked playing here and being the cornerstone of a franchise. Hamels is different in that he already won a World Series with the Phils and was, in fact, the most important reason for that victory.
That's why any Phils fans who are upset or angry about Hamels' comments on Wednesday need to reevaluate their emotions. He signed a free agent deal to stay here, and has watched the team crumble around him. The team has made no secret of the fact that they were listening to serious offers for him, and also that they would act on a deal that netted the Phils the right package of prospects.
So, Hamels wants to go someplace that isn't going to lose 90 or more games for the foreseeable future. It's totally understandable. He already brought you a championship and was a lynchpin of the greatest sustained success the franchise has ever had.
Let's keep it together, hope that Ruben Amaro gets a good deal in return for him, and wish him luck in his new endeavor.
.@JClarkCSN smh typical Hammels he never wanted to be here— FanSince09 (@FanSince09) February 18, 2015
I mean when you get right down to it, what has Hamels ever done for the Phillies?— FakeWIPCaller (@FakeWIPCaller) February 18, 2015