Lee Relates to Hamels
He spoke about that today, as Hamels’ agent is in town talking to the Phillies about an extension. The sides are not close and an agreement is not expected before the end of spring training, if one happens at all. These talks will be difficult. Why? Because Hamels’ agent would not be doing his job if he were not trying to get Hamels a contract worth more than $100 million, and the Phillies already have tons of money committed over the next several seasons. Looking at things from the outside and not knowing how much money the Phillies have to spend, it would seem difficult to not only meet the demands of Hamels, but Shane Victorino, who becomes a free agent following this season, and Hunter Pence, who becomes a free agent following 2013.
Can they keep all of them? It will be very, very difficult.
The Phillies already have $109.85 million committed to eight players next season: Lee ($25 million), Roy Halladay ($20 million), Ryan Howard ($20 million), Chase Utley ($15 million), Jonathan Papelbon ($13 million), Jimmy Rollins ($11 million), Kyle Kendrick ($4.5 million) and Laynce Nix ($1.35 million). And that’s not counting club options for Carlos Ruiz, etc. They have $94 million committed to Lee, Halladay, Howard, Papelbon and Rollins in 2014; and $74 million committed to Lee, Howard, Papelbon and Rollins in 2015.
Let’s say Hamels wants $20 million per season from the Phillies. Let’s say Victorino wants $12 million. Let’s say Pence wants $15 million. That’s $47 million for the three (and that’s probably a low figure, if you think about what they could get if they hit the open market). That puts the Phillies’ 2014 payroll at $141 million for just seven players. So what? Well, none of those players are a catcher, second baseman or third baseman. There are bullpen jobs, bench jobs and possibly a starting pitcher or two to find, too. I’m not saying the Phillies will not resign Hamels, but it will not be easy. And it might mean they have to lose talented players elsewhere, something Victorino acknowledged recently.
Stay tuned …
Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!