If you’ve followed major league baseball for even a couple of minutes this season, you’re probably aware that Cole Hamels is a free agent after the season. Hamels will be one of the most sought-after players in baseball history if he is allowed to hit the free agent market.
He is a 28-year old left-handed ace with a World Series MVP award and a remarkably history of little to no injuries, and he has a superb career strikeout to walk ratio. The Philadelphia Phillies are prepared to offer Hamels a deal worth $120 million this week, a deal matching that of Cliff Lee.
Hamels will likely get five or six years, which means the Phillies will be paying at least $20 million per season for three different pitchers. Roy Halladay is on the market for $20 million in 2013 and another $20 million in 2014 if his option vests. Lee is making an average of $24 million per season through the 2015 season with a vesting option for 2016 at a ridiculous $27.5 million. Adding in Hamels’ salary means the Phillies will be making their starting pitching a major priority for the next four to five years, but then again, Hamels is probably the best homegrown pitcher the team has had since Pete Alexander.
Hamels will very likely get more than $120 million if he hits free agency. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees have all openly inquired about Hamels, and the Yankees would probably pay a value comparable to what they paid CC Sabathia (seven years, $161 million). Hamels would have to agree to a hometown discount like Lee did back in the 2010 offseason.
There are some positives to accepting the deal now though; Hamels wouldn’t have to worry about playing for a new contract the rest of the season. If he got hurt and missed a majority of the second half, he would already have his new deal for him.
I guess at this point, we will just have to see whether or not Hamels accepts the deal.