Skip to content

The Phillies go big with Hamels. Is it too big?

Jul 25, 2012, 9:15 AM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks Getty Images

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.

Latest Posts
  1. The benches cleared in Toronto, too

    Aug 2, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT

    Josh Donaldson Josh Donaldson

    The Blue Jays and Royals weren’t very friendly to each other on Sunday.

  2. The Reds’ and Pirates’ benches cleared after Brandon Phillips was hit with a pitch

    Aug 2, 2015, 3:56 PM EDT

    Brandon Phillips Brandon Phillips

    Cincinnati hosted one of two benches-clearing incidents in baseball on Sunday.

  3. The Cubs are considering Chase Utley

    Aug 2, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT

    Chase Utley Chase Utley

    Injured Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is a potential August acquisition consideration for the Cubs.

  4. Brad Ausmus says he’ll “probably” go with Alex Wilson as the Tigers’ closer

    Aug 2, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT

    Alex Wilson Alex Wilson

    Brad Ausmus has a candidate to handle save situations following the Joakim Soria trade.

  5. Giancarlo Stanton’s recovery from hamate bone surgery “definitely slower” than expected

    Aug 2, 2015, 1:55 PM EDT

    Giancarlo Stanton Giancarlo Stanton

    Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton might not return in mid-August as originally anticipated.

  6. Red Sox place Rick Porcello on the disabled list with a triceps injury

    Aug 2, 2015, 1:01 PM EDT

    Rick Porcello Getty Images

    Red Sox starter Rick Porcello heads to the disabled list with a triceps injury.

  7. Video: Jorge Soler robbed Khris Davis of a home run

    Aug 2, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    Nice catch

    Note: that is not his hand or glove.

  8. Settling the Scores: Saturday’s results

    Aug 2, 2015, 8:25 AM EDT

    Cole Hamels

    Cole Hamels’ Texas debut didn’t go too well.

  9. Report: Dodgers only picking up $500,000 in acquisition of Bronson Arroyo

    Aug 1, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT

    Bronson Arroyo Bronson Arroyo

    The Dodgers aren’t paying much of Bronson Arroyo’s tab at all.

  10. Athletics designate Eric O’Flaherty for assignment

    Aug 1, 2015, 10:45 PM EDT

    Eric O'Flaherty Eric O'Flaherty

    Struggling lefty reliever Eric O’Flaherty was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Saturday.

  11. Chad Billingsley heading back to L.A. to have his elbow examined

    Aug 1, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT

    Chad Billingsley Chad Billingsley

    Chad Billingsley will meet with a doctor in L.A. He’s dealing with more elbow problems.

  12. Lucas Duda’s last eight hits have been home runs

    Aug 1, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT

    Lucas Duda Lucas Duda

    Lucas Duda doesn’t want to run the bases.

  13. Steven Souza, Jr. will go on the disabled list with a broken hand

    Aug 1, 2015, 9:02 PM EDT

    Steven Souza, Jr. Steven Souza, Jr.

    Steven Souza, Jr. was hit by a pitch and suffered a broken hand, so he’ll hit the disabled list for a spell.

  14. Rays to demote struggling lefty Matt Moore to Triple-A

    Aug 1, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Matt Moore Matt Moore

    Rays lefty Matt Moore will try to fix himself in a low-pressure environment, as the Rays will demote him following Saturday’s poor start against the Red Sox.

  15. Joe Maddon: Kyle Schwarber stays when Miguel Montero returns

    Aug 1, 2015, 8:10 PM EDT

    Kyle Schwarber Kyle Schwarber

    Kyle Schwarber is staying in the big leagues when Miguel Montero returns, which is bad news for opposing pitchers.

  16. Report: Larry Lucchino stepping down as president and CEO of the Red Sox

    Aug 1, 2015, 7:19 PM EDT

    Larry Lucchino Larry Lucchino

    There’s a shakeup in the Red Sox front office, as Larry Lucchino is stepping down from his role as president and CEO.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. C. Gomez (5577)
  2. C. Hamels (5382)
  3. T. Tulowitzki (4635)
  4. Y. Cespedes (4062)
  5. M. Trout (3923)
  1. D. Price (3651)
  2. T. Clippard (3349)
  3. G. Parra (3242)
  4. T. Ross (3239)
  5. J. Reyes (3198)