By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s rare that anything that costs $144 million would be considered discounted, but Cole Hamels’ new contract would seem to be just that.
Cole Hamels and the Phillies have agreed to a six-year, $144 million dollar contract. The deal does have a vesting option for a seventh year, and includes a limited no-trade clause. “I think there’s going to be plenty of great nights to come in the next seven years,” Hamels said. Seems like he plans to get that seventh year and spend them all in Philadelphia.
“Cole wanted to be in Philadelphia, and we wanted to keep him in Philadelphia. Ultimately it’s a matter of money, but for him it’s about being in Philadelphia and winning,” Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said. “Money has never been the thing,” Hamels said. Amaro then asked if Hamels would have played for free.
“I really do feel that this is the place that I do call home and I want to call home for a long time,” Hamels said. “It’s hard to leave a place that you have so many great memories.”
Hamels was treated a huge ovation as he left the mound after his last start on Saturday, with fans knowing it may be his last start as a Phillie. He said that kind of support is the reason he wanted to stay.
Hamels, 2008 World Series MVP, said he’s not satisfied with what they’ve accomplished so far. “We’d like to do more.’08 went too fast! I want to make it happen again … as many times as possible,” he said.
The deal would seem to be less money than what Hamels could have earned if he hit the free-agent market, a number that CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman speculated could be up to $175 million. Hamels would not discuss specific dollar amounts, but is clearly appreciative of his position. “I never imagined I’d be in this position, ever,” he said.
Hamels, 28, has spent all seven of his major league seasons with the Phillies, after being selected with the 17th overall pick of the 2002 draft. He’s got a lifetime record of 85-58, with an ERA of 3.38 and a WHIP of 1.139. 2012 has been perhaps his best season, going 11-4 so far with an ERA of 3.23, and a WHIP of 1.122.
The added salary means that the Phillies may be more likely to make trade or two before the July 31st deadline. Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, Juan Pierre and Cliff Lee have all been mentioned as possible trade bait.
Listen to the entire press conference: