Given Their Recent Past, Phils Must Retain Hamels – Phillies Nation

Given Their Recent Past, Phils Must Retain Hamels

Signing Cole Hamels should be the number priority of the Phillies, starting today. (AP)

Yesterday, Corey Seidman outlined for you why it would behoove the Phillies to trade Cole Hamels before the upcoming July 31st trade deadline. Today, I’m here to tell you why, instead of trading Hamels, the Phillies must do whatever it takes to retain him.

Over the last decade, the Phillies have morphed from a somewhat competitive team with a modest payroll to a powerhouse with the second highest payroll in baseball.

They’ve established themselves as an aggressive organization with a win-now mentality, worrying about the future only when the time to cross that bridge comes. We saw this mentality when they gave big contracts to Chase Utley, Ryan HowardRoy Halladay, and, more recently, Cliff Lee, Jimmy Rollins and Jonathan Papelbon.

But now there is doubt about whether the organization will be able to do the same with their home-grown left-hander, Cole Hamels.

As a team that has been so willing to spend big money on other players, how can they possibly justify drawing the line with their youngest and most-talented core player?

The answer is they can’t.

There’s only one logical reason for trading Hamels: If the team feels they can’t retain him, it is better to get prospects in return than to watch him walk on the open market and get nothing. That argument, however, is contingent on the idea that the Phillies are unable to re-sign Hamels.

This team now has no choice but to re-sign Hamels, no matter if they think they can be competitors in the immediate future or not.

Say, for example, Amaro believes the Phils can be competetive once again next season–a notion that isn’t that far-fetched, considering the fact that, assuming no one is traded, they’ll still have Halladay, Lee, Worley, Papelbon, Rollins, Utley, Pence, Ruiz, and a healthy Howard, among others, under team control. In that case, re-signing Hamels makes what the organization believes to be an already competitive bunch that much stronger by adding a young, left-handed stud to the rotation.

On the other side of the spectrum, if Amaro believes this team needs to enter a rebuilding stage next season and beyond, who better to build your team around than a young ace reminiscent of Steve Carlton just entering the prime of his career? There are few better options out there.

I don’t think anyone would disagree with either of these points. Admittedly, though, neither of them take into account the type of money Hamels will command in free agency, which has the potential to be record-setting.

Many suggest paying Hamels that type of money will handcuff the team from making other necessary moves this winter because of salary restrictions.

This is another fair point. However, it also has a contingency.  The idea that the Phillies cannot–or, at least, will not–cross over the luxury tax threshold with their payroll is one created by the organization. There is no rule against spending more than $178M on team salary, and the Phils are a team that is generating more revenue than ever before. If crossing the luxury tax threshold means re-signing Hamels, then the Phillies  must cross it.

There is, of course, the supposition that the Phillies could trade Hamels, and still re-sign him this coming winter. If you could assure me that this would happen, then I think it makes a lot of sense. However, there is no such assurance.

If the Phillies trade Hamels, he is no longer their property, and his return isn’t guaranteed. There’s also no guarantee that the prospects you get in exchange for him will develop into big league ballplayers, let alone talents on the level of Hamels.

So, instead the Phillies should look to deal their other movable pieces to revamp the farm system and sign Hamels today. You give him a huge deal and be done with it.

The Phils have established themselves as a big market team with a massive payroll. As much as some may not want to hear it, they’ve become the Yankees of the National League. Over the last few years, this method of operation has been full of frivolity, a product of an atmosphere constantly centered around winning.

During those more joyous seasons, the team handed out elephantine contracts like they were a t-shirt giveaway at a Sunday afternoon game.  They’ve set the precedent of spending big, often to a fault. Now they find themselves in a position where they’re on the precipice of losing their most valuable player for the future–there’s literally no player currently in the organization more valuable to the future of the Phillies  than Hamels–because of the irresponsible spending of the past. They cannot allow that to happen.

They’ve started down the road of big market, big spending baseball. This is who they wanted to be. Now there’s no turning back.

Click to comment


  1. Ryne Duren

    July 5, 2012 at 8:36 am

    ryan, great article! you have hit the nail right square on the head! it’s imperitive that they sign him. it sends a message to the fan base and the team itself reassuring that they are committed to winning. having him on the team if they do go on a mini rebuiding spree only makes that move happen quicker! i believe that they won’t have to go over the threshold though. and i also believe they don’t have to rebuild! i think the word is retool. they have a few things they can do. since this is no doubtedly a down year, ( and i’m still hoping for a run) but if there is no showing of a comeback after the break with RH and doc back, then they have to start by trading vic! first off i’d inquire about at the allstar break of aquiring a righty reliever with experience. with that said and still no showing if they do get one. then you trade vic for whatever prospects you can get. i’d try to peddle KK also. blanton will be a FA at the years end if they don’t have an inclination to sign him, then trade him for prospects too. then you sign hamels! give him what he wants. at the end of the year poly is off the books along with contreras, qualls, no blantion, no vic, no KK. all of a sudden you have some flexability. this winter i would try to get a 3rd basemen! where? i don’t know maybe somebody from another org.

  2. George

    July 5, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I agree fully that trading Hamels, then attempting to re-sign him later is a terrible and extremely risky strategy. For one thing, I doubt that any team would trade major prospects without a window to negotiate a long term contract with Hamels. If some team did pull the trigger anyway, they wouldn’t give up the same prospects for just a rental. And at year’s end, when Hamels did become a free agent (he won’t make it that far if the Phils extend him now), the Phils would be in competition with other teams who might go to ridiculous extremes to sign him. (Jayson Werth comes to mind). Another problem is that he may find he enjoys the new team and city he’s been traded to, and may not wish to return.

  3. Brooks

    July 5, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I just do not see the logic in trading Cole Hamels. The Phils are bogged down with long term contract and aging players. Ridding themselves of one of the top young LH pitchers that you could easily base your future around while being stuck with these contracts is foolish in the least. The Phils would have a less talented pitching pool along with a declining production from their offense.

    Keep Cole Hamels, trade Vic, Junior, dump KK, Blanton – the money will be there, bring the talent up from the minors

  4. Chuck A.

    July 5, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Ryan, I agree with everything you say….10000% !!!

  5. Dave

    July 5, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Agreed. Of course that doesn’t mean that the Phillies front office will do what you say, but I hope that they understand that you will have quite a few unhappy season ticket holders (including myself) if you trade Hamels. I think the majority of fans in general would like to see him stay. It sends the wrong message if you trade him. They can try and justify it all they want, but we know it’s all bull. And we know that we can’t take any truth from anything Amaro says because of his past behavior. He and Hamels could have talked about a contract on Tuesday for all we know.

  6. dylan

    July 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    great article hamels was the main piece in our 08′ championship if you trade him you trade the core of the so called mini dynasty the phillies have become

  7. TheDipsy

    July 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Well, what everybody is ignoring in this little Hamels lovefest is that the Phillies aren’t going to resign him this year. So whether you wanna trade him – or trade him and then try and resign him – ya still gotta trade him. It is my opinion that, if the Phils are out of it (which they are – at best- on the cusp of being) and they let Hamels walk for nothing, someone needs to be drawn and quartered.

    The Dipsy

    • George

      July 5, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      Who has told you that the Phils aren’t going to re-sign Hamels?

      While it might seem as though they won’t, there’s no certainty of that. Even if he reaches free agency, there’s no certainty that some other team will outbid the Phils.

  8. Dave

    July 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Dipsy…how can you be certain that they aren’t going to sign him? No one really knows what’s going on…not even the so called journalists. Everyone just speculates. Amaro said it was a private discussion, so again everyone creates their own rumors and ideas.

  9. TheDipsy

    July 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Because logic tells me that if they were gonna do it – they would have certainly done it by now. Why? Because every day they wait the price tag goes up. Because if he reaches free agency the price goes way up. Hamels’ agent has no reason to come down to meet the Phils. Let me ask you in the inverse – What makes you think that the Phils will re-sign him? What evidence have you seen?

    The Dipsy

  10. Dave

    July 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    No evidence, just trying to stay positive. This season has been such a disaster. It’s the one thing I’m holding out hope for. And you’re right. The longer he waits, the higher the price. He should have gotten this deal done a long time ago. Which is why i think if he doesn’t resign Hamels he should lose his friggin’ job. What message does that send to the rest of the team who came here to win long term? Everyone I talk to says they will be upset if they don’t re-sign Cole. The only way to make our voice (the fan) heard is to cancel season tickets…which i might do.

  11. Pingback: Assessing the Moves Amaro Didn’t Make |

  12. artemis

    July 5, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    First of all, what is frivolous about wanting to WIN ? IMO, they will re-sign Hamels because they can afford him, the stadium are full of Phillies Phans like us who support the team win or lose. And because of the massive phan base, the advertisers are not leaving. Those are the two sources of funds, aren’t they? The team cannot afford to lose Cole, how can it stand to lose one of the best players that contributed wins to the dismal first half? As a phan above me said, it is logical and common sense to re-sign Hamels. Trading him is not going to happen soon. See you in the second half!

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