Jul 25, 2012, 9:15 AM EST
The Phillies deal with Cole Hamels is big. Really big. Like, the second largest contract to a pitcher in baseball history big. $144 million guaranteed, $161 million with a vesting option, the details of which are not known.
But here’s the question: can the Phillies really pull this off?
And by “this,” I mean the vast payroll outlays they have on the books. As of now, the Phillies owe $133 million in 2013 to only nine players. Add to that a $5 million option owned to Carlos Ruiz that they’ll certainly pick up. I would assume at this point that Hunter Pence will be dealt for payroll reasons, but if he isn’t and they want him around, he’s going to cost eight figures next year too. That’s a lot of money for less than half of an aging roster.
But is it too much? Maybe based on what we’re used to with baseball economics it is. But as we’ve noted several times recently, we’re in a new era now thanks to the skyrocketing value of local TV deals. The sort of which allowed the Angels to pay Albert Pujols what they paid him, with the difference being totally made up by the increase in their annual take from Fox. An increase, thanks in part, to the star power that they can put on TV each night.
So, you’re the Phillies: you’re filling the house every night and, in three years, you can expect to get a windfall in local TV bucks. If you don’t pay Cole Hamels that money and keep the team on perpetual win-now footing, are you able to reap that money? If you do reap it, is Cole Hamels’ deal all that bad?
As is always the case, it depends on the cast surrounding him. Is Roy Halladay beginning a decline? Is Chase Utley on his last leg? Is Ryan Howard going to level off and come close to justifying that deal? Where is the rest of the offense going to come from?
Those are the big questions about the Phillies’ prospects going forward. The same questions they’ve always had. The money owed to Cole Hamels, in some sense then, is not the biggest concern. Assuming he doesn’t go full-blown Zito on them, the investment in Hamels seems like the smallest risk they have.
- Blue Jays sign Dayan Viciedo to a minor league deal 8
- Chris Sale will be sidelined for three weeks with foot fracture 11
- Aramis Ramirez says 2015 will be his last year 32
- Francisco Rodriguez re-signs with the Brewers 9
- If addiction is an illness — and it is — Josh Hamilton shouldn’t be suspended 306
- Pirates open to massive extension for Andrew McCutchen 18
- Report: Josh Hamilton had a relapse this offseason that “involved at least cocaine” 86
- Yankees don’t plan on having to pay A-Rod’s $30 million in home run milestone bonuses 52
- If addiction is an illness — and it is — Josh Hamilton shouldn’t be suspended (306)
- San Francisco — and all of California — will consider a smokeless tobacco ban that includes MLB parks (131)
- Curt Schilling lowers the boom on some men tweeting threats against his daughter (118)
- Brian Sabean says that California taxes are a hindrance to the Giants signing free agents (102)
- Ichiro is happy to be away from Joe Girardi (88)