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.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.