Cole Hamels signed to 6 year, 144 million dollar deal.

Posted: 07/25/2012 by levcohen in Baseball
Tags: , , , ,

Today, Cole Hamels was signed to the second largest contract for a pitcher in MLB History. The only pitcher who got more is CC Sabathia. Hamels, at 28, is one of the 10 best pitchers in the Major Leagues, so he is extremely valuable. But was he worth 144 million? Is anyone? This deal has a major effect on a lot of teams and players, not just the Phillies. A few teams and names come to mind quickly (Texas Rangers, NL East, Zach Grienke). More on that later. But first I want to examine Hamels and if he was worth this contract.

Phillies Mindset: This was easy for the Phillies, and to them it was worth breaking their rule of not signing SP’s for more than 5 years. They did what they had to do, and that was lock up their homegrown ace, their youngest of their three aces by five years, and the only one still in his twenties (Hamels is 28, Cliff Lee is 33, Roy Halladay is 35). This tells up that while the Phillies probably aren’t serious about competing this year, they do believe that they will be able to compete next year. At the end of this deal, Hamels will be 35. He should be able to ace the rotation effectively at least until the last year or two of this contract. The 24 AAV (Annual Average Value) is a ton. So is the six years. But the fans love him, and he is homegrown. So this is a solid deal for them, even though they could have traded him for some prospects and then resigned him (albeit for more money).

Hamels Mindset: There is no doubt in my mind that Cole Hamels would have gotten 7 yrs/160 million if he had gone to free agency. So it’s obvious that he wants to stay in Philly. He was never going to accept the original 5 yr/ 120 M original offer this close to free agency. But they got it done.

Edge: Hamels is obviously a winner in this deal. He gets 144 million guaranteed dollars and gets to stay in Philly. But is this a win-win deal? It depends on who you are asking. The Phillies have about 140 million invested in 8 players (assuming none of Pence, Lee or Rollins gets traded). Thats a lot of money. Their overall payroll may raise to around 200 million. That means they would be over the luxury tax. So unless the Phils trade one of the three I mentioned (Lee, Rollins, Pence), they won’t have a lot of money to spare. The question is, is Hamels worth that? My answer is yes, but it’s a really tough question.

How this deal impacts other players and team:

NL East: This is obvious. The NL East was hoping one of it’s 4-5 elite starters would depart for another division, or, even better, the AL. Instead, he stays. Interestingly, two of the four NL East teams have hit Hamels very well, in the Mets and Marlins.

Texas Rangers: This is bad for the Rangers as well. They were considered the frontrunners for Hamels, and now miss out on him.

Zach Greinke and other elite FA SP: Much like the Matt Cain deal, this deal will be an example for pitchers like Greinke. Now they won’t accept much less, and this will become the new norm for elite pitchers.
Overall Grades (in terms of $’s, years, and interests):
For Hamels: B+
For Phillies: B-


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