Hamels Situation Gets Dicey with One-Year Commitment – Phillies Nation

Hamels Situation Gets Dicey with One-Year Commitment

Will Cole run in the same rotation as Roy past 2012? (Philly.com)

Cole Hamels has signed for one more year at $15 million. That would seem like a good thing. That’s just the feeling on the surface. Look for things to take a turn south if something doesn’t get done before the season begins.

Tom Verducci and Keith Law were both guests on “The Sports Bash with Mike Gill” on 97.3 ESPN FM on Tuesday and both were skeptical that Hamels would re-sign with the Phillies after this one-year pact is up. And to be truthful, I am now as well.

A source close to the situation tells me that Hamels received a low offer during last season that he and his family were not happy with. So that warm, fuzzy feeling you thought was there may not be. From what I’m told, Hamels does enjoy Philadelphia and wants to be here, but also wants to be paid accordingly. Those numbers continue to fluctuate as time moves along.

After Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander inked their five-year deals with the Angels and Tigers, respectively, everyone assumed that the Phillies would have to pay slightly north of that to retain Hamels long-term. That may no longer be the case. Hamels could be looking at a Cliff Lee-esque contract, which well above what both Weaver and Verlander make. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com opines that Hamels can shoot for north of $20 million per season because of his leverage. And let’s face it; he has it.

By waiting it out, Hamels becomes more and more expensive. Ruben Amaro told writers today that there is still plenty of time.

“We can negotiate with Cole from today through the end of November, and then beyond that to get a multiyear deal done,” Amaro said. ”Just because we have a one-year deal in place doesn’t mean we can’t do something long term. As far as Cole beyond 2012, that’s something that’s still very much open for discussion.”

Really, this shouldn’t even be a discussion.

Last season, I was adamant in believing that Hamels would be back because of his love for the city and his love for the Phillies. But now, that could be souring, even if it’s ever so slightly. By waiting so long, and by adding in factors such as the Ryan Howard extension, the Jonathan Papelbon signing, and the Cliff Lee deal, the Phillies may have priced themselves out of their most important part. I say most important because at his age (28) and hitting his prime, he’s a guy you want around for a long time. Everyone is well aware of that, I’d hope.

Before we jump off the new South Street bridge, let’s all take a deep breath and realize that there is still time left for a deal to happen. Let’s just proceed with extreme caution. No taking a turn to negative town just yet!

Below are clips from Verducci and Law talking frankly about the situation:

Tom Verducci discussing Cole Hamels on 97.3 ESPN FM – Clip 1
Tom Verducci discussing Cole Hamels on 97.3 ESPN FM – Clip 2

Keith Law on 97.3 ESPN FM – Howard, Papelbon mistakes by Amaro, hurt Hamels chances Clip 1
Keith Law on 97.3 ESPN FM – Cole Hamels is so important to the franchise – Clip 2
Keith Law on 97.3 ESPN FM – Every MLB team will have eye on Cole Hamels – Clip 3
Keith Law on 97.3 ESPN FM – Odds Hamels signs extension seems low – Clip 4

Click to comment


  1. Jeff Dowder

    January 17, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    What happened to turning negatives into positives?

    • Pat Gallen

      January 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      “Before we jump off the new South Street bridge, let’s all take a deep breath and realize that there is still time left for a deal to happen. Let’s just proceed with extreme caution. No taking a turn to negative town just yet!”

      I wrote that above.

      • Jeff Dowder

        January 18, 2012 at 3:28 pm

        Turning lemons into lemonade! They’d also be able to spread that potential $25M a year over a few positions (3B, CF, C, LF) that may need to be filled in 2013.

  2. kittykat

    January 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    I knew this day was coming when they signed Cliff Lee.

  3. Bob in Bucks

    January 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Well there is a limit in terms of money somewhere. Three $20 million players may be a limit but we will see. Other teams have similar issues. If Hamels wants to test the market then that is his right.

  4. Lefty

    January 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Coles agent-

    “At the end of the day, we really don’t have any concrete game plan as far as how long we are going to plan on discussing this,” Boggs said. “That will be decided at some point shortly, or as we get into the process. But there’s definitely a desire to stay. At the end of the day, it really depends on the value we place on Cole, and hopefully it coincides with the value the Phillies place on Cole. That’s the reason you have a negotiation. From a basic desire, yes, he’d be more than happy to stay there. He knows the Phillies. He’s homegrown. That’s what we’ll attempt to do, but sometimes things don’t work out if we can’t agree on the value.”

    As I’ve said here a couple of times, the Phillies think the starting point is Jered Weaver 5/85, Boggs thinks it’s Cliff Lee (5/120) or more. There is a huge gap there.

    I’m convinced that Boggs looks at the Papelbon deal and thinks his client is worth much more, and the Lincecum arbitration demand, and thinks his client is worth at least that much. (21.5)

    Dicey is a good word for this situation. I still think the Phillies made a major step forward today by reaching an agreement on Hamels’ arbitration case with the largest settlement for a pitcher in major league baseball history. If that’s not a considerable show of good faith, I’m not sure what else they can do.

  5. Tom

    January 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    As much as I would love to retain Cole long term, are you saying that he deserves more than Verlander, Weaver, or Lee? I’m sorry, maybe I missed the season that Cole had that was better than those three!! He’s young and has definitely righted himself after that awful ’09 season, but I wouldn’t put him in that company yet!!

    • agam22

      January 17, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      The career numbers of Hamels, Verlander and Weaver are all very similar. Different stats would rate the three in different orders (for instance Verlander is slightly ahead in FIP but Hamels dominates the others, especially Weaver in xFIP) it all depends on what numbers you want to look at. The general trend amongst the three is that they have all been showing steady improvement since they’ve entered the league. Lee’s probably been the most consistently brilliant of that group for the last 4 years, but was also significantly older than the others when he signed his deal, so you could make the case that any of the others would be more valuable commitments due to age. Also, Hamels as an LCS MVP and a World Series MVP, and while some may debate the value of past “clutchness”, especially in light of his ’09 playoff run (though given his starts his past two years, I think that can be called an anomoly), teams will probable value him for his past playoff performances. Too make a far too long comment short, Hamels is elite and probably the best left hander under 30 besides Kershaw and defintely belongs in the same class as Verlander and Weaver.

    • schmenkman

      January 17, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      agam covered the numbers well, but here is one more comparison:

      Through age 27:
      Carlton.. 104-72 (.591), 124 ERA+, 1.217 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, 7.0 K/9
      Hamels…. 74-54 (.578), 126 ERA+, 1.141 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 8.5 K/9

      • EricL

        January 18, 2012 at 12:15 am

        I don’t know how much the record matters, but yeah, when I compared both of them through their first five seasons I was surprised to see that Cole actually bested some of Lefty’s non-counting stats.

      • schmenkman

        January 18, 2012 at 7:18 am

        The record doesn’t matter much. But I think to most readers it would be conspicuous in its absence.

      • Pat Gallen

        January 18, 2012 at 9:07 am

        Funny, when I said we have a “Carlton-like situation on our hands”, I believe it was The Dipsy that ripped me. Numbers are fairly similar early on.

  6. Brooks

    January 17, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    It should be interesting to see how much weight the Lincecum offer has with Cole’s outcome. The Freak is a 2 time CY winner, is younger and has only a few peers at worst. Freak was shooting for $21.5 mil and got an offer for considerably less ($17 mil) but still the highest salary arbitration offer in history.

    I think all in all for now, its a fair deal. The outcome is of course up to Cole and his performance.

  7. agam22

    January 17, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    I have disagreed with Amaro on plenty of moves but generally give him the benefit of the doubt. That said, if Hamels signs elsewhere next offseason Amaro should be fired the next day.

    • EricL

      January 18, 2012 at 12:11 am

      You can’t really say that.

      What if he signs with a team for some kind or ridiculous overpay, like $28 million a season or something? Most of the Phillies top prospects are pitchers, which means that they have very little in terms of homegrown batting talent available for a team which is rapidly aging. Is it really wise to spend enormous amounts of money on what would end up being the third ace of the staff?

      Listen, I want Cole to stay in town as much as anyone, but I don’t want the Phillies to cripple themselves by signing him to some sort of untenable deal. Ideally they’d have some flexibility to overpay guys like him–guys who are young, extremely talented and homegrown–but due to Ruben’s profligate spending they just don’t have that kind of wiggle room with either the payroll or the salary cap. This is exactly why overpaying for guys like Papelbon and Howard was such a gargantuan mistake, and you shouldn’t give the benefit of the doubt to Ruben.

      He inherited a WS winning team with tons of talent, a stocked farm system and a modest payroll. He’s basically gutted the farm system, aged the team, signed some ill-conceived contracts, made unnecessary trades and nearly doubled the payroll since he’s been here.

      This precipice is where all his previous moves have led.

      • agam22

        January 18, 2012 at 12:27 am

        Exactly, and if he’s willing to overpay for the likes of Ibanez, Papelbon and Howard but not Hamels, it just shows how bad he’s been. I can deal with the Papelbon contract even though I always hated it, but once it costs them Hamels then it becomes a truly terrible decision. I would rather see Kyle Kendrick close on a team with Hamels if that’s what it takes. My point was basically that if Hamels walks that’s the straw that breaks the cames back for me

      • Brian Sr. of CO

        January 18, 2012 at 2:57 am

        You simply can no say that. Do you fire the GM of the Cardinals for “letting Pujols go”? LOL. Maybe fire the GM for the Rangers because he let Lee walk last year (only to take less money to go to the Phillies), and expecially for letting CJ Wilson walk this year, oh wait, he took less money to go to the Angels as well because it was his home town team. Just because Hamels might walk, does not mean it is all Amaro’s fault.

        And to say that Amaro has been one massive mistake the entire time, can we say Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Pence? Some keep saying he is horrible, and is riding coat tails because “He inherited a WS winning team with tons of talent”. In the last 20 years, how many teams have won 5 straight division titles (3 AFTER winning the World Series), and 2 straight League Championships. Even this year, several years after he took over, and after the WS win, they win 102 games in the regular season? Has he made mistakes? Yes. To say he is horrible and and needs to be fired. Thats a bit far fetched.

        Howard was by far his biggest mistake based more on when it was signed and when it started. He signed the deal, then injuries set in, and aparently needs glasses because his eyes arent that great. How can you seriously say Papelbon was a “gargantuan mistake” before the first season of his contract even began? It is VERY easy to say the Howard contract was one of the biggest mistakes for the Phillies in a long time. The biggest problem with the Howard contract was that it was a 5 year extension signed in 2010. Had he signed a 5 year extension effective immediately, it would be a different story. It is insane that he signed a 5 year contract extension when he would have been a free agent the same year as Pujols and Fielder. Then to compount that fact, he starts his brand new insance contract ON THE DISABLED LIST!

      • Pat Gallen

        January 18, 2012 at 9:09 am

        Brian Sr., I dont think Texas let Lee walk. He wanted to come back here and I think Texas actually offered more.

        I’m not sure this is the same. Hamels, from what I’ve heard, was pissed by a bit of a lowball offer by Amaro. If that turns out the be the case and Hamels does leave, then we have reason to be pissed.


    January 17, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I believe there is a very good chance that the Phils will NOT be able to sign Cole Hamels next year and we will lose him to the Yankees, or another wealthy team. I hope he has a great year with the Phils and we can sign him, but look for AT LEAST a Cliff-Lee-type deal and possibly more.

  9. EricL

    January 18, 2012 at 12:44 am

    Whoo boy.

    I made the previous two comments before I had listened to the audio clips.

    I wouldn’t say exploding in a mixture of outraged-panicking, but like a baby gestating inside my belly, it might emerge in about 9 months.

  10. Lefty

    January 18, 2012 at 5:57 am

    I think they can work something out. But more importantly, they can not let him get to free agency even if they can’t sign him. The extension has to be finalized by June. If not, they have to get some real value back for him via trade. Someone will be desperate for pitching help at the deadline, and be willing to take him on as a rental. That’s not the way I want it to turn out, but I’m hoping they have at least have a plan B in place.

    Just say no to picks!

    • Brooks

      January 18, 2012 at 8:07 am

      Lefty, a few posts ago you were pretty much doom and gloom about the prospects of signing Cole. Have you changed your outlook?

      I agree if its done, it has to be by either June or July, no waiting. Any thoughts about the Lincecum offer and how this might affect (positively – in favor of the Phils or negatively, in favor of Cole – )?

      • Lefty

        January 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm

        Brooks, In some ways yes. I believe the avoidance of arbitration, and the nastiness that can surface from those things is a good sign. I also think settling by giving him the second largest salary (largest to a pitcher) ever given to an arbitration eligible player is a show of good faith on the team’s part.

        There were 2 reasons for my doom and gloom, one that the extension hadn’t already happened which is contrary to Ruben’s normal way of doing business, and that he signed a closer to a ridiculous contract, which give me the feeling that Cole had to think he is worth more than twice that. (5/63) Obviously I don’t know any better than anyone else what Hamel’s is thinking, it’s just a feeling I have. Hope I’m wrong.

  11. Lefty

    January 18, 2012 at 6:15 am

    O/T – Hunter Pence filed for arbitration $11.8MM, while the Phillies countered at $9MM.

    Pat Gallen’s projection was 10.5, looks like he was just about right again.

    • Pat Gallen

      January 18, 2012 at 9:14 am

      Thanks for stroking my ego Lefty!

  12. betasigmadeltashag

    January 18, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I think what the Phillies may have to do is do a long term deal for too many years at a smaller avg deal to stay below the cap. I would not be opposed to say 19-21 million for say 7-8 years, Worry about spending 20 million on a 36 year old pitcher when he is 36. I think with the salary structures they have now, you will have to think about that to keep him. I do not think they can afford to do a 3-4-5 year deal at 22-24 million deal. Kind of like the Pulous deal sure it was ten years but it is only 24 million avg and they will be paying a forty year old 25 million, but they are only paying him something like 17 million this year. I know the cap is based on avg. and that is something the phillies will have to think about. I mean he is only 28 so even if you sign him to eight years you take that chance that he is still Lee like at 36. He seems to keep himself in good shape and has a work a holic like Doc to learn from. Aren’t Lee and Doc signed through 36-37 now. Would Cole take 6 years 117-120 million with a seventh year option at 22 milliion. I think he would

  13. Manny

    January 18, 2012 at 10:09 am

    He’s young, entering his pure prime and has at the very least 6 more excellent years ahead of him. Extend him now!

  14. Don M

    January 18, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Speaking of Tom Verducci …. a few years ago spent 5 days in Spring Training with the Blue Jays, and documented it all … including standing in the cage with Roy Halladay pitching ..

    It’s a really cool article for any baseball fan:


    • Lefty

      January 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Thanks, that was really good.

  15. Chuck A.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    @agam22…. Signing Raul Ibanez didn’t prevent the Phillies from making any other necessary moves. Howard and Papelbon, maybe. But you can’t compare the Ibanez contract to theirs as far as that’s concerned.

    • Manny

      January 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      And even Cliff Lee (though it wasn’t a huge overpay, signing him might prevent us from making other moves –Hamels, Utley, improving 3B, etc.

  16. Jeff Dowder

    January 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    MLB on XM did a full segment on this yesterday. They didn’t seem optimistic that the Phils could make a competitive offer to Hamels with so much money already tied up to a handful of players. If you believe that Pence will still be here in 2013 for his last arbitration year (with no outfielders in the farm system ready he probably will be), they’d have about $125M guaranteed to seven players. At that point, do you really give Hamels a deal for over $20M a year? Unless they’re interested in going over $200M in payroll (doubtful), I can’t see how the numbers will fit.

    I’d agree with others, that if Hamels hits the open market he’ll be gone. The Yankees or another team will step in and beat any offer the Phillies can make.

  17. Pingback: Reaction To The Cole Hamels Contract « CBS Philly

  18. Psujoe

    January 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Phillies can pay Hamels $20 million per year and avoid the Luxury tax once Blanton’s $8 million is removed. They probably couldn’t afford to carry 6 starters though. (Hamels+Blanton)=$23 million. There’s room, but not in 2012.

  19. Psujoe

    January 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I’d love to see Mayberry and Brown have good years. An OF of Brown-Mayberry and Pence would help a lot financially.

  20. mb74

    January 21, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    This is a very tough call but I think if Hamels is looking for 7-8 years at $20 million per year I would have to say no. Yes Hamels is 28. The Phils will have gotten the best years out of him physically as a pitcher. The older Hamels gets the greater the likelihood of an injury. He’s not a physical beast like a Sabathia. He’s had some minor arm problems in the past but nothing serious…yet. Gambling that he is going to stay healthy for the next 7 or 8 years is a bad bet. It just isn’t realistic. I still like the team’s chances with Halliday, Lee and a few reliable, solid starters slotted in behind them in 2013 and 2014. Ride those 2 guys and grow some more starting pitching internally. I’m sure the Mets thought they were getting a world series when they signed Johan Santana and that contract has crushed them. There are very few pitchers who I would buy for 7-8 years at $20M annually. Cole Hamels is not one of them.

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