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.