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Phillies focused on a one-year deal for Cole Hamels

Jan 10, 2012, 9:32 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

Cole Hamels can hit free agency next offseason, but a contract extension doesn’t appear to be on the agenda for the Phillies this winter.

According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Phillies assistant general manager said tonight that the club is focused on negotiating a one-year deal with the left-hander.

“We’ve had discussions with Cole,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said during an appearance on Comcast SportsNet’s Phillies Hot Stove on Tuesday night. “Right now, we’re focused on a one-year deal.”

“There’s plenty of time down the road,” Proefrock said. “That’s all I’ll say. Right now we’re focused on a one-year arbitration deal.”

Hamels, who turned 28 in December, has a 3.39 ERA over his first six seasons in the big leagues. He went 14-9 with a career-best 2.79 ERA last season while finishing fifth in the balloting for the National League Cy Young Award. The southpaw projects to make around $14 million through the arbitration process this winter.

It’s not clear what it would take to keep Hamels in Philadelphia for the long-term, but Salisbury throws Jered Weaver’s five-year, $85 million deal out there as a comparison. That’s not a bad starting point. Felix Hernandez (five years, $78 million) and Justin Verlander (five years, $80 million) signed similar deals prior to the 2010 season. Still, the idea of Hamels potentially hitting the open market next winter has to scare the bejesus out of Phillies fans.

  1. muckthefets23 - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Bejesus is one way to put it. RAJ needs to do whatever it takes within reason to get him signed long term.

  2. phillyphreak - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Yea. Bejusus is putting it lightly all things considered.

  3. stex52 - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    “Within reason” may be the operative term. The free agency process doesn’t always leave much room for that. I’m sure the Phillies would be generous (they let Oswalt walk to clear the decks) but Hamels is probably looking for the open market to work its magic.

    • henryd3rd - Jan 11, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      And the Yankees are out there looking for a quality South Paw. He’ll make a ton of money. Ruben better work quickly

  4. xmatt0926x - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    I’m not getting this at all. Whats the advantage of letting this go into his walk year? I just can’t think of any strategy where this makes sense. He signed Ryan Howard 2 years before he needed to with a horrible deal that he would never offer him today, injury or not. He signed a flyball pitcher in Palpebon to a monster contract that nobody else was going to give him and let Madson go. It doesn’t seem like Hamels is saying he wants to test the market or you know they’s put that out in the media so this seems to be all Phillies. Signing him longterm wouldn’t make this years salary much more prohibitive. I just don’t get it. Everyone has given Ruben a free pass because he got Halladfay and Lee but it’s not like he did anything but trade the farm and spend money to get them. He hasn’t pulled anything special to make the team what it is. I think he generally gets too much credit and the jury is still out on him.

    • phillyphreak - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:14 PM

      The only way it makes any sense at all is if they think that they can get one of the other FA pitchers who they value more than Cole (assuming that they are free agents still). Think Greinke, Shields or Cain. Yea, that doesn’t make sense to me either……

      Or the Howard contract is now starting to matter…..

      Or this is all knee-jerk and hopefully we know more in a few days.

    • paperlions - Jan 11, 2012 at 7:41 AM

      It isn’t up solely up to Amaro. Hamels may be set on hitting FA to see what is out there….even if he may prefer to stay in Philly, a lot of guys just want to see what FA feels like. It is most likely that they are concentrating on a 1-year deal because that is the only option they are being given by the player.

    • danrizzle - Jan 11, 2012 at 8:04 AM

      Well I think the deal with Halladay in its entirety–the trade and the extension–was a pretty clear win for Amaro and a job very well done. Howard and Papelbon? Perhaps not so savvy.

      • xmatt0926x - Jan 11, 2012 at 9:17 AM

        Don’t get me wrong. I like the Halladay deal. I love it. Of course you could go back and question not giving up Drabek to get it done in the first place, then getting Lee, letting Lee go for much less than equal value to Seattle, then giving Drabek up anyway, then getting Lee back anyway. Then the Ryan Howard deal which was universally questioned. The Joe Blanton fiasco. Ruben has been quotes as saying “I’m not a stats guy”. What?? Bottom line, as a long-time Phillies sufferer who spent a generation watching the likes of Steve Jeltz, I like the win at all costs attitude. I just think Ruben has been overrated as a gm. He almost comes off as a fantasy baseball GM to me with the obvious moves whereas his signings that needed more instinct have been questionable at best. I guess we won’t know until the era is finally over.

      • seanmk - Jan 11, 2012 at 9:48 AM

        what has drabek done exactly that makes you wish you didn’t give him up? if anything that trade might be known as the Travis D’Arnaud or Anthony Gose trade in a few years. if i had to do the halladay trade again i’d do that again, again, and again.

        What is the joe blanton fiasco exactly, that he signed him to an extension? he got market value for what he is, and you can’t predict injuries. If anything i don’t know why kyle kendrick continues to get play but he’s a long man that can start if needed. kendrick just isn’t very good is the issue.

        as far as the Lee trade we’re going to find out what we got out of that probably starting this year. Aumont looks primed to get a taste of the big leagues this year and Gillies is in a sort of make or break year as well.

        As far as Hamels, I’ve felt that signing Lee to that contract meant they were willing to let Hamels go to FA. No team has every had 3 pitchers that made $20+ million a year not even the yankees, so i doubt the phillies will be the first. Yeah it sucks but maybe as someone suggested Hamels is the one that doesn’t want the extension and wants to reach free agency. More power to him if that’s what he wants, you only ever get a few chances to cash in and he might be trying to do that.

      • xmatt0926x - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        seanmk, feel free to point out where I said I didn’t want them to give up Drabek. I never said that. I felt it was odd for a GM to not get his trade target because he wouldn’t give up Drabek the first time and then you end up giving him up after all the next season. As far as the Blanton fiasco, if you feel that he got a market deal that’s fine. I thought it was too much and as I recall alot of people felt that. And remember, it was the Blanton deal that was pointed to as gthe reason they couldn’t initially keep both Lee and Halladay. Nobody wanted to take on Blanton at $8 million. As far as Hamels, yeah, if it turns out to be that Hamels wanted to test the market then you are correct. That has nothing to do with the Phillies. I think I made that point in my original posts. This doesn’t seem to be the case though. The report sounded to me as if this was a Phillies decision. I’m not trashing Amaro. I just think some of his moves have been questionable and I haven’t annointed him as a geniuos GM as some have here. Thats all. I said I wanted to see how things play out first. Unfortunately most fans want blind loyalty which is fine for them.

  5. growyourlocks - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Sounds to me like they are far apart in negotiations…

  6. uyf1950 - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    Unless I’m mistaken all 3 of the pitchers mentioned a possible comparisons to Hamels had 1 or both of the following which I’m not sure makes Hamles comparable.
    1st) The 3 pitchers mentioned all had 2 years left before hitting FA
    and/or
    2nd) Gave their team hometeam discounts

    Clearly Hamels doesn’t have 2 years before he hits FA and I’ve seen no indication that he intends to give Philadelphia a hometown discount. He’s stated that he likes Philadelphia and would like to stay but that’s a far cry from willing to give them a hometown discount. There is also the question as to why should he. Philadelphia clearly has shown they have the ability to pay players and pay them handsomely. Look no further than the contracts of (Halladay/Lee/Howard and Papelbon). He would be foolish to settle for anything less than 6yrs/$120MM to $130MM minimum. Because he will certainly get that type of package from some team less than 12 months from now.

    At least that’s my opinion.

  7. muckthefets23 - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    The Howard contract is already starting to loom big with this situation, and I can’t remember exactly but I’m pretty sure Halladay is coming up on his contract year soon as well. Some how I smell a restock of the farm system in the air coming soon, which is obvious to most a very important matter to attend to.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:53 PM

      Halladay’s under contract through 2013 but there is a vesting option for 2014 based on innings pitched, and based on Halliday’s history he should have no trouble in the option vesting. If or I should say when the option vest Halladay will be 37 entering the 2014 season.

      As for restocking the Phillies farm system. Halladay is obviously one of the best. But I’m not sure how many teams would be willing to give away their farm system for what would be a 37 or so year old pitcher. Even one with Halladay’s credentials.

      • paperlions - Jan 11, 2012 at 7:44 AM

        Plus, teams don’t often pay for players twice anymore. If you want top prospects back for a guy making a lot of money, you have to cover a lot of that salary….teams just don’t pay for guys with talent and money like they used to.

  8. muckthefets23 - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    Like I said earlier “within reason” and IMO 120 mil. minimum is not within reason, I def agree he’s worth weaver or Verlander money though.

    • paperlions - Jan 11, 2012 at 7:46 AM

      As stated above, Weaver and Verlander were selling arbitration years…and got security in return. There is no reason for Hamels to do that now…two or three years ago, sure, but not now.

  9. muckthefets23 - Jan 10, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Was just saying farm system needs to be rebuilt in general, not at Halladays expense. But thanks for the info, didn’t know he had a vesting option and agreed he shouldn’t have any problem with it vesting at all.

  10. Utley's Hair - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Any apprehension Phightins Phans feel must be mitigated by trust in NinJr. In RAJ we trust. I think “no extension” and “one-year deal” translates to “signs a multiyear deal during the season” in the NinJr-to-English dictionary.

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Jan 11, 2012 at 7:01 AM

      I had the same thought . . . RAJ doesn’t usually lay his cards on the table. But perhaps that’s just wishful thinking.

    • paperlions - Jan 11, 2012 at 7:52 AM

      You should be trusting in the owners wallet, because that is what will get a multi-year deal done.

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 11, 2012 at 9:53 AM

        Who do you think controls Montgomery, et al’s wallet? Obviously that would be Jedi Master ObiWan NinJr.

      • paperlions - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        Jedi Masters do not give Ryan Howards $25M/year, much less 2 years before necessary…they also don’t trade away Cliff Lees for peanuts, only to resign him later for a higher AAV than he could have kept him for in the first place….they also don’t sign Joe Blantons……or give relievers long-term deals for $12M/year

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        Really? Still on the Lee trade? It was designed to replenish some of the farm that was lost in both the original Lee trade, as well as the Halladay deal. It was a good trade that worked out in the Phightins’ favor in the end, also. And yet you keep bringing it up. Get over it. Cliffy and his wife have.

        Blanton was also a good signing, since he would still be a solid three-hole starter on quite a few other teams.

        The Papelbon deal hasn’t even begun yet, so there’s no point either bringing it up or debating it. Yet.

        The Howard extension was, in my opinion, done too early, possibly for too much, but not necessarily for too long. That deal hasn’t started yet, either, so, see above point on Papelbon.

  11. Kevin S. - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    The one thing I can think of would be to avoid luxury-tax implications. Say a theoretical long-term extension for Hamels would look something like the $14 million he’d likely get from arb this year, and then $20 million/year for another five years. If they sign him to that extension before opening day, he counts for $19 million against the tax. Were they just to sign the one-year deal, however, then work out a long-term extension after opening day, he’d only count for the $14 million this season. If we were just looking at straight payroll, the Phillies would be roughly $40 million under the threshold before their arbitration cases this season, unlikely to bust that even with large payouts to Hamels and Pence. But when you consider luxury tax considers AAV over the life of the contract, the hits on Howard, Lee and Papelbon jump $9 million, possibly enough to make that $5 million difference on Hamels matter.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 11, 2012 at 8:28 AM

      So essentially do what the Sox did with Gonzalez where everyone knew they had an extension signed, but “technically” it wasn’t agreed upon until after opening day?

  12. b7p19 - Jan 11, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Riiiigggghhht. If I’m Cole Hamels I tell Rubin to take his one year deal and stick it where the sun don’t shine. Then I finish out the year make my millions on the open market from a team actually wants me. The Phillies need to end this dance and pay Hamels, or Hamels needs to go make his money.

  13. henryd3rd - Jan 11, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Hammels’ agent John Boggs is no Scot BorAss; but he’s now fool either. he’ll do wahts best for his client. Can you spell $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  14. Utley's Hair - Jan 11, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    What the hell kind of porn have you been watching?

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