With the signing of a one-year deal, the Phillies sealed Cole Hamels’ fate. For now, anyway.
Hamels will be the top free agent pitcher on the market following the 2012 season, a thought that is scary considering just what the young lefty could offer any team.
Hamels has the capability to be an instant ace wherever he plays. But as a Phillie, Hamels ranks third behind Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Lee is a pretty good example to use when discussing Hamels’ future.
Hamels is looking for big money, and will likely get it from someone.
That’s where there’s a concern for the Phillies. You have to think of Lee’s $120 million deal – which could last five more season with a pending option – rather than Jered Weaver’s hometown discount for the Los Angeles Angels worth $85 million over five years.
That kind of contract could be too high for the Phillies, who already have Lee and Halladay committed to similar deals.
What if the Phillies were to lose Hamels at the end of the season? With Halladay and Lee taking the top two spots, that would likely make Vance Worley the third starter and force the Phillies to possibly pursue another, cheaper option for the rotation.
The Phillies may work out a deal with Hamels for the long-term during Spring Training. Perhaps it comes early in the season. It may even wait until just after the season ends.
The Phillies have some time to think about how soon they have to make a move on Hamels. But, for now, Hamels will take the mound at Citizens Bank Park for another season. And that’s all that should matter right now.