Cole Hamels doesn't follow the Phillies much these days. Nothing personal, because it was a great run. You don't depart a place where you won a World Series MVP without leaving at least a little of yourself behind. And he's sure the addition of Jake Arrieta will benefit a young team "champing at the bit to get relevant again," maybe even "put them on the map."
But keeping up with the Phillies personally?
Not when you consider this: Philadelphia's starting lineup and pitching staff could include as many former Rangers from the blockbuster 2015 trade as teammates Hamels once knew.
For all its hold on history, baseball moves on, whether you're ready or not.
Hamels knew the feeling long before the 2015 deal that brought him to Texas, and he recognizes the symptoms now.
Basically, if he returns to his old form after a season he calls a "hiccup," and the Rangers are no closer to the Astros for it, he'll probably be dealt by the trade deadline. Even if he doesn't come back as vintage Hamels — which would hardly be surprising at 34 — chances are pretty good this is his final season as a Ranger.
Whatever this season brings, he's prepared himself physically and mentally for anything, not the least his farewell.
"Yeah, I understand it," he said. "I've seen it a lot. It's the game. I don't think you can take anything personally because of the fact that, if somebody wants you, somebody wants you. It's a great feeling, as opposed to sitting at home and nobody wants you and you're not playing anymore.
"You just have to roll with what happens."
If you were thinking Hamels is ready to go based on his not-so-subtle reply to Jeff Banister's proposed six-man rotation, or five plus one or however it eventually adds up, yes, you're on to something. He hasn't backed off his criticisms. A creature of habit, he continues to talk about his goal of 200 innings, a virtual impossibility if he misses a half-dozen starts in a radical rotation.
He's prepared himself for a season like 2016, when he started 32 games, hit 200 innings on the nose and recorded a 15-5 record and 3.32 ERA. He believes he knows what went wrong last year. His fastball command deserted him early, leading to an ERA of 4.20, his highest in nearly a decade.
Essentially, he blames his old winter workout regime. He says he went into last season lacking the flexibility necessary. The tighter the muscles, the more he forced the issue. Next thing he knew, he lost his mechanics "and something kinda went haywire."
"I feel like I'm in a better position," he said. "I know where I'm at with my arm strength and my legs. The conditioning side, I feel a lot better.
"I really think it's going to get us through the year in better shape with better results. Ultimately, it's all about results."
Just the same, this is how his future will play out: The Rangers have an option on Hamels for $20 million next year with a $6 million buyout. If they weren't interested in 31-year-old Yu Darvish at six years, $126 million or 32-year-old Jake Arrieta at three years, $75 million or even a single, solitary season of 31-year-old Lance Lynn for $12 million, I don't know why they'd make a high-priced exception for Hamels at 35.
Jon Daniels' words and actions have made it clear the window has closed on the hopes he held for the Rangers when he traded for Hamels, even if the pitcher has held up his end.
Looking back on it, Hamels called his initial reception in Arlington "incredible, a tremendous experience." Praised the front office as "one of the best." Described the "serious talent" on the big league club and how "special" it's been to play with them.
And wherever baseball takes him, he said, "This is where we're gonna retire. This is where we're gonna raise our kids."
Citing Dallas' central location, he added he has "a lot of respect for the people that make Dallas home, the work ethic they have. That's something I want my kids to see and be a part of."
And if all that sounded like goodbye, well, he answered the questions that were asked.
Asked about this team's prospects, he termed what happened last year a "hiccup," too, and not a trend.
"I really feel a lot better about this team," he said. "Sometimes you need to be humbled a little bit, and we were last year.
"This puts the younger guys in a position to learn and improve and I think it's going to help everybody further down the line."
Just like all those kids the Rangers sent to Philly three years ago for Hamels and Jake Diekman. Jorge Alfaro and Jared Eickhoff and Nick Williams have grown up and become key contributors of the lineup. At least partly as a result, the Phillies are suddenly trending as wild-card picks.
Meanwhile, Cole Hamels prepares diligently this spring for the possibility that the cycle repeats itself. He knows the drill.