Jered Weaver’s new five-year, $85 million extension with the Angels has set the market for young aces nearing free agency and Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer speculates that that Phillies may try to sign Cole Hamels to a similar contract.
Weaver is a year older than Hamels, but in terms of service time they’re identical. Hamels, like Weaver, is eligible for free agency after the 2012 season.
They also have identical 3.39 career ERAs, with Weaver logging 1,084 innings compared to 1,117 innings for Hamels. Since the beginning of last season Weaver has thrown 413 innings with a 2.60 ERA, while Hamels has thrown 381 innings with a 2.86 ERA.
Gelb notes that Hamels has the edge in terms of postseason performance and his higher 2011 salary could push the baseline of a potential deal up slightly compared to Weaver, but if the Phillies want to lock up their elite young starter $85 million for five seasons is a good place to kick off negotiations.