To answer the question: Hell yes!
Twenty-eight year-old Cole Hamels is forming into one of the most dominant left handers in the league. Evolving from a scrawny left handed reliever to a World Series ring and a World Series MVP; to being one of the key parts of one of the best rotations in baseball history. Cole Hamels is defining himself as a top-tier pitcher. After signing a one-year, $15MM deal in January, it leaves just eight months for Hamels and the Phillies to come to an agreement. If they can’t, then Cole Hamels will test the free agent market and tinker with lucrative deals this offseason.
Hamels has been a Phillie for over eight years. First being drafted as the 17th overall pick in 2002, Hamels made his way through the Phillies’ farm system to make his first MLB appearance in 2006. Hamels made 23 starts in 2006, finishing the season with a 9-8 record and a 4.08 ERA. Hamels’ first full-season as a Phillie came in 2007 where he went 15-5 with a 3.39 ERA in 28 starts.
Hamels’ glory came not in the 2008 regular season, but in the 2008 postseason. Leading the Phillies through the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hamels led the Phillies through the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. All in all, Hamels finished the 2008 postseason with a 4-0 record and a 1.80 ERA. In the process, Hamels took the NLCS and World Series MVP Awards by storm. Before the 2009 season, the Phillies and Hamels agreed to a three-year, $20.5MM deal. The deal that ended at the end of the season last year. Although Hamels had no contract, he was still an arbitrary player, which means that he was not able to become a free agent unless he and the Phillies could not come to terms at all.
The Phillies and Hamels agreed on a one-year, $15MM deal in January. Giving Hamels a contract worth this amount for one year is a foreshadowing to the future deal Hamels will sign. Hamels had his career year last season. Going 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA, Hamels finished fifth in the NL Cy Young Award voting. The Phillies are almost obligated to sign Cole Hamels before the 2012 season ends. With Hamels becoming one of the premier left handers in the game, many teams will be out to get him if they can this offseason. Presumably, the Yankees are most likely to push for him, and the Yankees could offer him money he can’t refuse. The Phillies are supposedly close to a TV deal that could land them with $5 billion. Money they can use efficiently to spend on Cole Hamels.
The Phillies have the money, but they cannot spend it all, as they want to stay under the luxury tax threshold. The Phillies also have to worry about Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence’s contracts. Victorino’s runs up this year, and Pence’s next year. All three Phillies have stated that they love to play for the Phillies and want nothing more than to play in Philadelphia.
The Phillies and Hamels have had talks over contracts, but nothing has formed as of yet. It is only March and the season ends in October, don’t doubt that there will be any deal, but also don’t rely that there will be one.
SW- Erik Seybold (@ErikSeyboldPHI)