The one-year deal is done for Cole Hamels. The $15 million he'll be paid in 2012 represents a $5.5 million raise over what he received last season and is the same exact amount the Phillies will pay second baseman Chase Utley for the third straight season.
In other words, the 28-year-old lefty is being nicely compensated as the youngest ace in the Phillies' dream rotation.
A more challenging contract negotation for Hamels and the Phillies lies ahead.
After negotiating the one-year deal with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. Tuesday, Hamels' agent John Boggs said that he will likely be in Clearwater at some point during spring training in an effort to negotiate a long-term deal for his client who can become a free agent after the 2012 season.
"Ruben wanted to proceed in this fashion, and then discuss a multi-year deal later," Boggs said. "I anticipate discussing a long-term deal for Cole as we get into spring training."
Amaro said talks with Hamels "probably" will take place in spring training and confirmed that he wanted to first negotiate a one-year deal for the lefthander.
"We thought it was the right thing to do for us," Amaro said. "It allowed us to establish the one-year value for Cole and I think we did that in an amicable and equitable way. Hopefully we can figure something out long term at the appropriate time."
There is no guarantee, of course, that the two sides will be able to complete such a deal. It's fair to assume, however, that any long-term deal for Hamels will at the very least be worth $20 million per year and cover at least five years. Roy Halladay is making $20 million a year on a deal that will likely cover four years and Cliff Lee's deal averages $24 million over five years.
"I'm always optimistic, but when you get into the real specifics and minutae of a deal, there are usually road blocks going forward," Boggs said. "I think Cole wants to be treated fairly and compensated for where he is at in his career. I've always respected Ruben and hopefully we can try to accomplish that long-term deal. I can't predict what will happen in the end, but hopefully the value they put on Cole is what we feel is appropriate."
Boggs said the Halladay and Lee deals are both fair comparables for Hamels.
"I think the one thing everyone can agree on is that Cole is an elite pitcher," Boggs said. "We'll look at what elite pitchers have received in the past and hopefully he'll get what we think he is worth."
Amaro said the Phillies will continue to negotitate with right fielder Hunter Pence in an effort to avoid a salary arbitration hearing next month. The two sides were required to submit salary numbers with the league office at the 1 p.m. deadline Tuesday. Those numbers were not immediately available.