The Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a six-year contract extension with Cole Hamels, according to multiple sources. The deal will be worth $144 million and will keep the prized left-hander in Philadelphia through the 2018 season with a vesting option for 2019 that could make the whole deal worth over $160 million.
The contract is the second biggest by a pitcher in baseball history, surpassed only by CC Sabathia‘s seven-year, $161 million deal, and just beating out Johan Santana‘s six-year, $137.5 million deal.
Hamels has been by far the biggest free agent and subject of trade talks this summer, and there were a handful of teams that were interested in his services. After all, Hamels is just 28 years old, he has a World Series ring along with a World Series MVP award, he strikes out a high percentage of hitters while keeping his walks down, and he has been relatively injury-free during his seven years thus far in the major leagues.
It looked for awhile that the Phillies wouldn’t be able to keep Hamels; after all, the team is already committed to paying Roy Halladay $20 million for 2013 and 2014 (if it vests), and Cliff Lee is in the second season of a five-year, $120 million contract. Factor in a five-year, $125 million contract extension for Ryan Howard, a four-year, $50 million deal for closer Jonathan Papelbon, and a three-year, $33 million deal for shortstop Jimmy Rollins, and the Phillies have a lot of money already committed to players for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Still, it would have been a shame had the team decided to let the best homegrown pitcher since Pete Alexander walk in free agency. This keeps Hamels in Philadelphia until he is nearly 35 years old, and it gives the Phillies a good chance of rebounding in 2013 to try to contend for the NL East once again.