A great deal of space has been exhausted here about the impending contractual negotiations of Cole Hamels for a few reasons:
1. He's the only "ace" under 30 on the team.
2. The last one-and-a-half season's worth of data tell us he has emerged as one of the best lefthanders in the game.
3. The Phillies set an interesting precedent (in terms of years) with the Cliff Lee deal.
Back in May we wrote this:
Phillies officials are no doubt closely watching the situations of Jered Weaver and Tim Lincecum. The Angels' Weaver, 28, led baseball in strikeouts last season and makes $7.37 million after losing his second-year arbitration case. The Giants' Lincecum, 26, is a two-time Cy Young winner making $13 million and could command upward of $20 million in the process this winter.
If either of those pitchers signs a multiyear extension during the season or early in the winter, it could set the market for Hamels, who will make $9.5 million in 2011.
And late Sunday night, that hammer fell. The Los Angeles Angels signed Weaver, 28, to a five-year, $85 million deal. Weaver, a Scott Boras client, had 14 months remaining until free agency, when undoubtedly, he would have cashed in on a nine-figure deal.
The initial reaction from around baseball is both parties did right with the extension. The Angels dished out the largest contract ever awarded to a pitcher in their franchise's history. Weaver could have waited longer for more money, but opted for certainty (and still quite a bit of cash).
For the Phillies and Hamels, it obviously sets a bench marker in any negotiations. Hamels and Weaver are about as similar as possible. (Baseball-Reference's similarity scores says Weaver is Hamels' closest match among any active pitchers. The highest score possible is 1,000. Hamels-Weaver is a 966.)
Their career numbers side-by-side:
|Player ||IP ||From ||To ||Age ||G ||GS ||CG ||SHO ||W ||L ||W% ||H ||R ||ER ||BB ||SO ||ERA ||ERA+ ||HR ||BA
Three things to remember: Hamels, 27, has made nine more postseason starts than Weaver, and also possesses a World Series MVP trophy. That kind of stuff plays big in an arbitration case.
Hamels is lefthanded. That does actually count for something.
Also, Hamels is making $9.5 million in 2011 as opposed to Weaver's $7.37. So there is a larger base from which to build.
Hamels, just like Weaver, has 14 months until free agency. He is under the Phillies' control for 2012 because of a fourth year of arbitration (he's a Super Two) not covered in the three-year extension he signed before the 2009 season.
The Weaver deal has its roots in the contracts signed by Justin Verlander (five years, $79.5 million) and Felix Hernandez (five years, $78 million). But those were both signed with two full seasons before free agency, thus the higher price for Weaver. Surprisingly, among the pool of Weaver, Lincecum and Hamels, it's the Boras client that took the first plunge.
The Hamels deal should mimic Weaver's, Verlander's and Hernandez's contracts. Both the Phillies and Hamels want to forge a deal. The situation is quite similar to that of Weaver's and the Angels'.
And the price may have been set Sunday.
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