While the substance of negotiations between Ruben Amaro Jr. and John Boggs are unknown, today's news that Matt Cain has agreed to a five-year, $112.5 million contract extension should only reinforce what we already know. If the Phillies want to retain Cole Hamels, they are going have to pay him some serious coin.
Earlier this year, we took a look at how Hamels and Cain compare to each other. Long story short, five years and $112.5 million would constitute a hometown discount were Hamels to agree to a similar contract.
According to several reports, Cain will make $20 million per year from 2013-17, with an additional $12.5 million guaranteed coming in the form of a signing bonus and a buyout on an option in 2018. Cain, like Hamels, will make $15 million this season.
So there's your ground floor. On the open market, Hamels would surely command more than the five years and $120 million that the Phillies gave to Cliff Lee.
Last July, we took an early look at the Hamels situation, noting that it would only get more difficult to sign him as he got closer to free agency. At the time, we deemed five years and $95 million to be an aggressive yet reasonable offer. Now, you'd probably have to consider five years and $120 million to be the aggressive yet reasonable offer. Because on the open market, Hamels can certainly make the case that he is worth the seven years and $189 million that C.C. Sabathia got.