Year-by-year breakdown of Cole Hamels’ $144 million deal

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Todd Zolecki of MLB.com has the details of Cole Hamels’ six-year, $144 million contract extension with the Phillies, which keeps the 28-year-old left-hander from hitting the open market as a free agent this offseason:

Signing bonus: $6 million
2013: $19.5 million
2014: $22.5 million
2015: $22.5 million
2016: $22.5 million
2017: $22.5 million
2018: $22.5 million
2019: $19 million option or $6 million buyout

There’s a slight twist with that 2019 option in that it vests and becomes a $24 million option if Hamels throws at least 400 innings in 2017-2018, including at least 200 innings in 2018, and isn’t on the disabled list at the end of 2018.

There’s also a bunch of bonuses for awards and All-Star appearances, which Zolecki details further, and the contract includes a limited no-trade clause.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.