Today, the Phillies took care of another possible arbitration issue by signing Cole Hamels to a 1-year, $15 million deal. Hamels was not eligible immediately for free agency, but he was definitely a top priority for the organization and they wanted to let him know that. The Phillies lock up their young, left-handed superstar for another year, and Hamels garners the highest pitcher’s salary ever in a non-free agency, arbitration situation.
The deal is both good and bad for Phillies fans. On the bright side, they lock up Cole Hamels for another year and avoid a free agency situation. On the other side however, the length of the deal should be worrisome. The organization was reportedly discussing a long-term deal with Hamels during the off-season, but apparently a deal couldn’t be reached. The 1-year deal could signify that a long-term deal was harder to agree too than originally predicted. Hamels and his wife have been a staple in the community for the duration of his career, and it would be hard to believe Cole wanting out of Philadelphia after he has spent his whole career here. However, a superb left-handed talent will definitely garner some big money in the free agent market, just as Cliff Lee did a year ago. Some good news though, Cole’s agent, John Boggs, has told the media that the 1-year deal is just a precaution to give them the time to discuss a multi-year deal.
Hamels only seems to be developing and improving each year as a pitcher. Last year in 32 appearances he went 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA and 194 strikeouts. He has sustained a winning record over the course of his career with a 74-54 record and a 3.39 ERA. He is no doubt a vital part to the Phillies’ future and should be a pressing concern as the season progresses. An early deal with Hamels would allow the Phillies to allocate the remaining funds to fill holes in the lineup and sure up their future, so the sooner the better.
Last year, Hamels was voted to his second career All-Star game and finished in the top 5 in the Cy Young vote. Cole definitely has some more hardware coming his way over the remainder of his career. Hopefully he’s wearing a Phillies hat when he walks up to claim those future awards.