Sources confirmed to The Inquirer's Jim Salisbury that the Phillies have signed Cole Hamels to a three-year, $20.5 million contract extension.
This contract extension buys out Hamels' first three years of salary arbitration. It means he will have one year of salary arbitration remaining before he becomes a free agent after the 2012 season. Obviously, this made sense to both parties. The Phillies get Hamels signed through 2011, knowing they can't get burned at the arbitration table, no matter how well Hamels pitches. And Hamels protects himself in the event of injury.
That leaves Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Jayson Werth and Chad Durbin eligible for arbitration. The Phillies have been talking with Madson about a contract extension, but he reportedly turned down a three-year, $12 million offer.
Will the Phillies sign Howard to an extension soon? I doubt it. Unless Howard's asking price has changed, I think the sides remain too far apart.