Phillies president confident about retaining Cole Hamels

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The Phillies haven’t made much progress this winter toward a long-term extension for Cole Hamels. But team president David Montgomery told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that there’s a sense of confidence something will eventually get done:

“I don’t think it’s difficult,” Montgomery said. “We’ve let Cole know we’re anxious to have him stay here. Cole enjoys it here. He’s not only been a quality pitcher, but he involves himself in the community. It’ll probably come down to what we think is an appropriate length and what they think. You try to minimize risk by not going longer than necessary. And a player is looking for as much security as he can get. It’s an equation that takes time to hopefully get worked out.”

Hamels agreed to a one-year, $15 million contract last month that covers his final season of arbitration eligibility. He is currently scheduled to become a free agent five days after the conclusion of the 2012 World Series and is thought to be seeking a shiny new deal worth more than $100 million.

The 28-year-old southpaw has a 3.39 ERA and 1,091 strikeouts in 1,161 career major league innings.

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.