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:
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