Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hamels locked up long term

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Magazine 

It's finally official: Cole Hamels will continue to be part of the Phillies rotation for many years to come.

Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has confirmed the deal at $144 million over six years on Wednesday afternoon.

"We felt like it was the right thing to do under the circumstance with his performance, his age, his importance with our club," Amaro said at a press conference prior to the series finale with Milwaukee. "Our goal is to continue to be a championship-caliber team, for now and the future. As I've said before, I think we have a much better chance with Cole as a major part of our rotation than without him."

The pact aims to keep the Southern California native in Philadelphia through the 2018 season, with a vesting option for 2019.

"Just knowing that we're always going to go out and win, and that I'm the middle triangle of the Big Three, it's reassuring," Hamels said. "That's the positive mojo that we need and what I wanted to see. I know the organization has always done a good job of going out to win. We have great players here. You don't want to have to leave that or stray away and see them win and you're not part of it. I understand that free agency is great, those opportunities of the unknowing. But this is the place that I call home and want to call home for a really long time"

It is the second largest contract ever signed by a starting pitcher, behind the $161 million contract over seven years that CC Sabathia signed with the Yankees following the 2008 season.

Hamels, the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, and the signing puts to rest any question of Amaro dealing the left-hander before next Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline.

The 28-year-old has turned in a strong campaign despite Philadelphia's struggles, going 11-4 with a 3.23 earned run average in 19 starts thus far.

Since cracking the majors back in 2006, Hamels has racked up an 85-58 record with a 3.38 ERA, completing 10 games with four career shutouts in the regular season. In the playoffs, he has gone 7-4 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 appearances, all starts.

He was the 17th overall pick in the 2002 first-year player draft.
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