In the latest news out of Phillies camp, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports that Cole Hamels agent, John Boggs, and Ruben Amaro, Jr. have had talks recently about a new contract for the homegrown lefty. It is said to be a “substantial” offer and the richest in team history.
Amaro and Pat Gillick had a very strong belief that pitchers should never be signed to longer than a 3-year contract. The trend continued with Roy Halladay’s 3-year contract extension, and then was broken with the 5-year deal given to Cliff Lee. It is widely believed that it will take a 7-year commitment to Cole to get him to resign. CSNPhilly.com reports that 7-years and $140 million is the starting point of negotiations.
Hamels spoke to reporters over the All Star break saying he wants to know what he is actually worth to the rest of the league. He also spoke of leaving town via trade, then coming back to Philadelphia in the off-season. It seems now that the Phillies have no intention of taking that risk.
New reports have surfaced that the Pittsburgh Pirates are set to make a sizeable offer to acquire Cole Hamels for their pennant push, and other suitors include the Texas Rangers and the Evil Empire, the New York Yankees.
Where Cole Hamels lands still depends on what happens now that Roy Halladay had begun rehab, and will most likely make his next start in Los Angeles versus the Dodgers after the Phillies leave Colorado. With the line-up rested and ready for their second half push, it is time for the Phightins’ to start fighting again for their playoff lives.
According to the ESPN.com article, executives of other clubs who have spoken with the Phillies camp say that they have shown a “surprising level of optimism” that they can get him signed this month.
“They’re trying to sign him,” said one of those executives. “And they think it’s going to happen. At least that’s what I was told.”
Maybe it’s a motivational move for the rest of the team to see the Phillies front office won’t let things fall apart, maybe it’s a negotiating ploy to get more for Cole Hamels. Maybe, as many conspiracy theorists think, Amaro and Hamels have a plan to get some prospects by trading him now, only to have him return in a Cliff Lee-esque blaze of publicity and glory. This writer doesn’t buy it, but I am encouraged by these 11th hour reports.
I have nothing but optimism that the Phillies will pull this thing off, get Cole signed, and make a strong push towards the postseason. It the NATIONALS for goodness sakes, not the New York Yankees. They are not the Red Sox, or the 90′s Braves, or the 80′s whoever (my history is a little rusty). It’s the Nationals, the Mets, the Marlins, and the Braves. All sitting above the Phillies.
No worries now, especially with a rich, happy Hamels, a healthy Halladay, and a lefty like Lee.