Agent says Cole Hamels won’t sign for Jered Weaver money

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Cole Hamels and the Phillies avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $15 million one-year deal yesterday and afterward his agent made it clear that the 28-year-old left-hander won’t be signing a Jered Weaver-like extension with free agency waiting next offseason.

That doesn’t mean Hamels won’t bypass free agency to stay in Philadelphia long term, but if it happens the Phillies are going to have to pony up more than the $85 million over five years Weaver accepted from the Angels in August.

Here’s what agent John Boggs told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:

At the appropriate time, Cole is looking to be compensated as one of the premier left-handed pitchers in baseball. Without putting a number on it, we’ll leave it at the fact that he’s an elite pitcher. Look and see what elite pitchers are compensated with. Hopefully at the end of the day we’ll be able to get something done with the Phillies that will reflect that.

I don’t think [Weaver] is a parallel. That contract is great for Jered. I understand it. But he took a different path and left a lot of money on the table. He came up through the Angels system and grew up in their backyard. He’s pitching where he grew up. That situation appeals to him. It’s a similar situation to when I had Tony Gwynn. Without getting into specifics of what we’re looking for, the Weaver situation is unique to Weaver.

And he’s right, because when Weaver signed his extension in August the consensus was that he gave the Angels a sizable discount. Another factor is that Weaver’s contract bought out his final arbitration season and first four seasons of free agency, whereas any extension for Hamels would cover only free agent seasons at this point.

Barring an injury it’s hard to imagine Hamels getting less than $100 million on the open market and as a 28-year-old pitcher with a 3.39 ERA and 1,091 strikeouts in 1,161 career innings $125 million shouldn’t shock anyone.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉