Jan 172012
Phillies ace Cole Hamels

One year down, hopefully many more to go for Cole Hamels and his contract

According to SI’s Jon Heyman, the Phillies have re-signed Cole Hamels to a one-year, $15 million contract. 

Heyman is also providing some additional details, claiming that Hamels’ new deal includes a $100,000 bonus if Hamels is named the league’s Most Valuable Player, $250,000 if Hamels wins the Cy Young Award, $100,000 for World Series MVP, and $50,000 each for LCS MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger or an All-Star appearance.

If true, it allows the Phillies and Hamels to avoid arbitration, the last year the lefty ace is eligible before hitting free agency.  And while it’s not the long term deal everyone wants, it’s a good sign that the two sides could come to an agreement before having the matter escalate.  Plus, it avoids the likely contentious discussions that would occur as part of the arbitration process, with Hamels having to explain why he’s worth a ton of cash and the Phillies explaining in detail why they think he’s not worth as much as he wants.  Yeah, that likely would not help get a multi-year deal done.

And now the Phillies have some breathing room to work out that long term contract; however, that doesn’t mean they can or should rest on their proverbial laurels.  Hamels is a legitimate ace barely past his mid-20s.  He needs to be paid and paid well right now.  If he enters the season without a deal the pressure and panic will build regarding his potential loss to free agency, and that’s a distraction neither Hamels or a World Series-contending team needs to deal with.

With the signing, the Phillies are left with two remaining arbitration-eligible players — right fielder Hunter Pence and utility-man (and relief pitcher) Wilson Valdez. 

UPDATE:  The Phillies have confirmed that Hamels signed, and that Valdez also signed a one-year, $930,000 deal.

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