According to FOX’s Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies are giving him the second-richest contract ever to a pitcher, behind New York’s C.C. Sabathia. Hamels will earn over $137.5 million during his six-year deal, with the finer points yet to be released by the front office:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 25, 2012
Hamels is having yet another brilliant season—11-4 with a 3.23 ERA—in a Phillies uniform, only increasing the pressure on Amaro to re-sign his homegrown star, who has now made three All-Star games and won the 2008 World Series MVP as he led his team to its first title in 28 years.
In 6 1/2 seasons, Hamels is 85-58 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, and he’d likely have upwards of 120 wins if it weren’t for horrendous run support. He also has an impressive 3.76 K/BB ratio and averaged 8.49 strikeouts per nine innings.
He is one of the most prized young pitchers in the game, a player who can impact teams more than most pitchers can. He’s in a class not visited by many, and one that only still has a handful of guys like Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw. Re-signing Cole will keep the team competitive for at least another four or five years, during which it is likely they’ll re-tool by shedding guys like Shane Victorino and Cliff Lee to both get younger and open up some room financially.
There have been several reports of deals being offered by the Phillies, but mostly the talk was about dealing Hamels to a contender like the Texas Rangers or Los Angeles Dodgers. The New York Yankees, as always, were also in the mix to make Hamels their second lefty with an All-Star pedigree. Surprisingly, there was even talk that the Phils would re-use their “Cliff Lee Strategy” and trade Hamels only to re-sign him the next year in free agency. Alas, however, he is returning to the only major league stadium that he’ll ever call his home.
This deal is the stuff of legends, but so is the pitcher who earned it. Let’s just hope Hamels will add some more hardware—especially a ring on the other index finger and a trophy named after Cy Young—before the contract expires. He deserves both.