By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Many thought the 112.5 million extension that Matt Cain signed with the San Francisco Giants set a floor for Cole Hamels’ next contract. It’s important to note the word “floor” there.

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CBS Sports Jon Heyman had this to say today:

Three prominent agents with no ties to Hamels estimated he’d get between $150 million and $175 million as a free agent. So $112.5 million could be considered a bargain, believe it or not. Hamels, who makes $15 million this year (like Cain), has said he’d entertain an offer in-season but wants to avoid the back-and-forth of negotiation.

Clearly the fact that this information comes from agents, who can only benefit from Hamels signing a deal at that number, should be noted. Still, the fact that a contract that would potentially be at least $30 million more than the guarantee they gave Cliff Lee is even being mentioned, is definitely worthwhile information. Hamels is a potential #1 starter, is left-handed, and is only 28 years-old.

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The Phillies, by trading for Roy Halladay, signing Lee and Jonathan Papelbon, and in the past trading for Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Joe Blanton, have made it clear that they’ve built their team around pitching. Signing Hamels would raise that commitment to the next level. With runs proving hard to come by in Major League Baseball, and even more so for the Phillies, could the team be wondering if spending that much money on another pitcher the best way to go?

The Hamels camp hinted previously that they’d rather not let negotiations drag on through the season. Though there apparently hasn’t been much contact between the two camps recently, there has been no sign that they’ve decided not to negotiate until after the year … yet.

Do you think they Phillies will sign Hamels before he becomes a free-agent? Let us know in the comments.

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