Well, I guess for starters, there really isn't a situation.
Cole Hamels thinks the Phillies low-balled him with a $500,000 salary for the 2008 season.
The Phillies think the price is more than fair.
Both sides have their reasons, which we'll get into in a second.
But whatever Hamels says, the fact remains: the Phillies control his rights through the 2012 season. And by that point in time, both sides will likely have much bigger issues to worry about that a couple hundred thousand dollars in 2008. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins could both be free agents, Chase Utley could be entering the final year of his contract, and who knows what else.
That being said: does Hamels have a legitimate gripe?
It's really hard to tell. Everything is so subjective when it comes to this salary process. For example, the Phillies can point to the Yankees' handling of Chien-Meng Wang last year. Wang had similar service time, career ERA and career wins as Hamels, and the Yankees signed him for $485,000. Scott Kazmir, who was drafted two spots ahead of Hamels, received less than that at a similar juncture of his career.
But then you look at it from Hamels' point of view: Hamels made an all-star team, and Wang didn't. Plus, Hamels' strikeouts and strikeout-to-walk ratio are far superior to Wang's.
Hamels was looking for $750,000. That's a lot of money, definitely more than most people with his service time (one year, 145 days) would get. But it's about $200,000 less than Ryan Howard received last season. And it's in the same neighborhood as the salary the Cubs awarded Kerry Wood after his breakthrough season, at an age similar to the 24-year-old Hamels, in 1998 (Wood received $690,000 from the Cubs).
Regardless, this isn't going to be a huge deal. Hamels shared how he felt. But now it's back to playing baseball. He'll likely be arbitration eligible as a Super Two next year and, worse comes to worse, a judge will tell both sides how much he is worth.
Winning 20 games and a couple of playoff games would go a long way justifying his current feelings. . .