I never could have envisioned that when Cole Hamels signed his six-year, $144 million contract last summer that it could potentially end up as a steal for the Philadelphia Phillies.
This off-season has changed my mind. Justin Verlander’s new contract can essentially be looked at as a five-year, $140 million extension, which is a $28 million AAV (average annual value). Felix Hernandez ($25 million AAV) and Zack Greinke ($24.5 million AAV) signed new mega-deals this off-season as well, which will pay them handsomely.
This is the world in which we live these days in the Majors, and it’s not really a surprise to see things going in this direction. Premium pitching simply does not grow on trees.
What is interesting is that more and more teams are not letting their talent walk away. Greinke was a free agent, yes, but Hernandez, Hamels, and Verlander were all homegrown talents.
David Price and Clayton Kershaw are awaiting their new contracts, and they will get their paydays in the very near future. They are also homegrown talents. Can Tampa Bay afford someone like Price? Los Angeles can likely afford Kershaw, a guy they will try to ensure never sees the light of free agency.
For the Phillies, however, it’s a chance to reflect and be happy that they have someone like Hamels. They had no intentions of letting him see free agency, either. It was important to keep a homegrown talent like Hamels in the fold for the foreseeable future.
And now, it looks like they may have gotten him for what could be considered a steal in today’s day and age.