Baby, You’re (Gonna Be) A Rich Man

So we know Cole Hamels will be signing at least a five-year, $112.5 million contract.

The Giants and Matt Cain agreed to those terms yesterday, and I believe most everybody would agree Hamels is a better pitcher than Cain. Hamels is 74-54 with a 3.39 ERA since 2006, pitching half his games in cozy Citizens Bank Park. Cain is 67-72 with a 3.39 ERA since 2006, pitching half his games at canyon-esque AT&T Park. Hamels has more strikeouts (1,091 to 1,055), a better strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.74 to 2.32) and WHIP (1.14 to 1.21) in that span. He is at the top of most pitching categories in the National League since he made his big-league debut. Cain is up there with him, but Hamels is usually just a bit better.

So if Cain got that, Hamels gets what?

I wonder if the Phillies said today, “How about Cliff Lee money?” if Hamels takes it.

Think about it: Cain and Lee are separated by just $7.5 million. (Lee signed a five-year, $120 million deal.) You’ve got to think Hamels will take home much more than Lee if he hits the open market. So I guess Hamels would have to ask himself the same rhetorical question Lee asked his agent Darek Braunecker, during negotiations with the Yankees, Rangers and Phillies: How much money does my family really need? (Plug alert: Pg. 84 in The Rotation.)

Is $115 million enough to keep Hamels happy in Philadelphia? Is $120 million? Is $125 million? Or is Hamels going to see how far he can go?

Ruben Amaro Jr. had some interesting answers about Hamels and the future of his team in today’s Q&A. First, he said his team can afford three $20 million-a-year pitchers. But I also asked if there is a realistic scenario in which the Phillies keep Hamels, Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence. Victorino becomes a free agent after this season, and Pence becomes a free agent after 2013. Amaro said, “It’s possible, but we may have to make some tough choices. It is probable? I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

If the Phillies and Hamels can’t get close to a deal — I’m told they’re not close and there are reports the parties haven’t talked in weeks — maybe the Phillies decide to swing in the other direction and load up on offense. Of course, there is risk there and the Phillies know it. The reason they acquired Roy Halladay, Lee and Roy Oswalt in recent years is because they understand pitching rules the day. That’s why Amaro obsessed over Halladay. That’s why he got Lee twice. That’s why he traded all those prospects.

Pitching wins.

Lose Hamels and you’re losing one of the best pitchers in baseball in his prime.

Can the Phillies really afford that, knowing Hamels is just 28 and Halladay and Lee will finish the season at 35 and 34, respectively?

But then ask yourself this: If the Phillies do whatever it takes to keep Hamels, is it worth it if it means they lose Victorino or Pence or both? I hear a lot of concerns about this team’s offense. Lots. Like every day I get an e-mail, tweet or comment on the blog about how much fans are concerned about this team’s ability to score. (Deep down, I’m sure Charlie Manuel shares your concerns.) Now say the Phillies go crazy and sign Hamels for much more than $120 million. And say they can’t keep Victorino or Pence (or both). If that’s the case then you could assume they can’t get players of similar caliber at similar prices to replace them, otherwise they would have kept them in the first place.

Now where is your offense?

To keep all three I believe Amaro needs each of them to accept less money than they could get on the open market. That seems unlikely to me. (The Phillies would love Domonic Brown to have a big year this year. That would ease some of their offensive concerns.)

If you were Amaro, what would you do? Bring back Hamels regardless of the cost? Go offense?

What would your happy medium be?

*

Thanks to the folks who stopped by our book signing last night at the Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting. Jim Salisbury and I will be at the Chester County Book Company in West Chester at 7 tonight. Hope to see you there!

*

Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!

Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.

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30 Comments

Sign Hamels and worry about the offense later. Pitching wins, and we’ve seen that once you get to the playoffs it’s a crap-shoot anyway.

I think the Phillies should get smart and offer Hamels $125 over 5 years. Yes, that’s $25 mil per year, but you’d have to be crazy to think the Dodgers or Yanks esp. in a bidding war don’t get there in a hurry. I’d love Hamels to sign that deal today and have this year 2012, be the first year of that deal. I’m ok with letting Shane go, the team has to get younger and his best days are in the rear view mirror. But for God’s sake keep Hunter, he is young.

Good stuff, as usual Todd.

Now….any chance you could get someone at mlbblogs.com to fix the site’s layout?

Keep Hamels and go for Pence. I think we’ll have the offense coming with Mayberry. How long do we wait for Brown to figure it out? Get the prospects for him , I don’t see him being our savior anytime soon, and let another team bring him up. I love Vic, but I don’t see us spending a whole lot on him with his age.

Pitching wins in the regular season, over 162 games the teams with the best staff’s and defense tend to win the most games. In the playoff’s however, timely hitting means everything since most playoff teams can run out starters and relievers who are capable of getting big league hitters out.

Simple. Sign Hamels NOW before the price goes up. Then, if necessary, let Victorino walk after this year and let Utley walk after 2013. Utley’s toast — he’ll never be what we all want him to be again. His offensive stats are in freefall and he’s around MLB average now on OPS. I believe the Phils had in mind to let Vic walk IF Mayberry and DoBro were ready for prime time, but apparently they’re not (DoBro looks like he may never make it) so letting Vic walk means finding a cheaper replacement.

Todd, I don’t think they would lose both Victorino or Pence, they are going to have to decide which one is more valuable and pay one of them. Remember that the following contracts will be coming off the books after this year: Blanton – 8.5M, Polanco – 6.25M, Contreras – 2.5M. After that, Utley and his 15M will be off the books. No one wants to lose Utley, but with his injury history, you gotta think it would take less than 15M to bring him back. Also, who knows, maybe when his contract is up he may retire due to injuries and then you really can afford to have Victorino or Pence. So, I’m really not worried. Lock up Hamels to Lee’s deal and then choose Shane or Pence. As long as they continue to fill up the bullpen with young, cheap arms, they have a model where they can pay their veterans, just not anyone else for a couple years after next year.

Please, PLEASE tell whomever codes this blog that the CSS is not loading and the page looks like a$$. Can’t believe it’s gone on for this long. Seriously.

Get rid of howard, then pay pence, hamels and hope brown lives up to his hype

Get rid of Howard ? are you nuts? Get rid of Utley,, Blanton & Polanco fall off (thank god), let Shane go if you have to, that ought to do it. Didn’t we all agree and we were told, that rushing Dom Brown to the majors is what ruined him? So rushing Freddy G. up is just fine? PS web page looks terrible, but so far what I’ve seen in “The Rotation” looks great

No team in its right mind would take Howard with that bloated contract, his injury, and his mediocre stats. The Phils are stuck with him for the next 5 years!

If possible, sign Hamels, Pence and Vic to backloaded contracts, Hamels for the most number of years, Vic the fewest, and apply as much pressure as possible on MLB to implement the DH in the NL as soon as possible. I don’t like it, but it might be easier to move Howard to DH then it will be to trade him to the AL. Also, don’t worry about the dough, because there’s more TV revenue coming, the fans will pay more (even in a dismal economy) and the luxury tax ceiling will go up. But what to do about Utley?

All I know is that the Phillies starting pitching has arguably gotten progressively better in every year from 2008-2011. And they have done progressively worse in the postseason over that same time. Seems like the best postseason recipe is solid (not awesome) pitching, clutch hitting, aggressive baseplay, and great defense. That was how the Phils won in 08, the SFG won in 10, and STL won last year. If they have to choose, unless we see something significantly different in terms of fielding and offense this year, you’ve got to get younger, hungrier players like Pence if this team is going to go anywhere in the postseason. Even if you have to give up Hamels to do it.

Does Pitching win or is Scoring Runs more imp?
2006 Philly #1 in runs in NL, but 12 games back of Mets miss playoffs. NLCS is Mets #3 vs. StL #5
2007 Philly #1 in runs, loses to #2 Colorado who makes it to WS
2008 Philly #2 in runs, get lucky and don’t have to face #1 Cubs as they lose to Dodgers.
2009 Philly #1 in runs, make it to WS, lose to #1 NYY in AL who scored 100 more runs than Philly that year
2010 50 run droppoff but Philly #2, beat #1 Reds lose to #9 Giants
2011 Philly #7 ! , lose to #1 Cards

By my count, Pitching wins in 2010, but Scoring more important in ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’11
In 2011 Philly was a pathetic #7 in runs scored. 20% fewer runs than 2007 when everyone was young and healthy (713 vs. 892) No three and four hitter in our lineup this year for likely a few months or perhaps half the season, we will perhaps score 650 runs this year and trail most of the NL, thank god for the extra playoff slot! One the bright side, we could be the ’10 Giants all over again!

The Phillies offense will not drop off to the 650 run range. They had multiple players miss a lot of time last season and still were able to fashion runs, especially in the second half. They will now have Pence all season long, while Victorino and Polanco are playing for new contracts.
But the pitching is ALWAYS more important, no matter what your little investigation uncovers. The pitching and defense is what gets you in the playoffs. The playoffs are serendipitous and there are no guarantees. The only guarantee is that you won’t win a championship if you don’t get in the tournament first. The only way I see them not making the tournament is if something happens to the pitching.

BTW, I see that some of you are complaining about the appearance of the site. That was happening to me for weeks here, but it appears to be fine now.

phan: The site has looked screwy for over a month. Postings and comments run into the red band on the right side. Everything is in ugly Times New Roman font. It looks bad on IE and Firefox.

I guess I spoke too soon. It was fine when I wrote that earlier today, but it’s back as a mess now. Anybody do Twitter? Tell Todd about this.

There is Halladay’s contract to consider. He got much less than Lee did but it was still a lot. If Cole plans to sign any contract extension with the Phils, he has to know that he would be handcuffing the phranchise if they had to pay him $25/ year. Take $21 million a year and let the Phils have money to spend for some offense.

“$25 MILLION” that is….

Why do the boards under the articles allow for editing but this blog board doesn’t?? I guess the technology is beyond them….

I’ve opened this page on IE 8, Google Chrome and Firefox 10, it is terrible on all three.

I’m not sure what you guys are seeing. Maybe e-mail me a screen grab. Because on both my desktop and laptop the blog looks perfectly fine. Thanks.

It looks fine on my “LA Public Libary” computer too :o)

Here’s what it looks like to the rest of us:
http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/2915678/1/zo?h=4b6659

That’s it. It looks exactly like that for me whether I use IE, Firefox, or Google Chrome

Wait, now it is fixed !

Pledge your support here!

Sign him early!

SignHamels.com

God, the Phillies look terrible, against the mighty pitching of the Buccos we get 6 total runs in 6 games, that’s on pace for 325 for the year! We will likely only score 600 runs this year and are clearly on the downswing. Does Cole want to stick around for the San. Fran Giants that will be the Phillies for the next 4-5 years? He had no run support last year and will likely get none this year, that’s tiresome. Plus Dodgers will likely give him 6 year contract for $132 + million. It’s the end of our run and I’m depressed.

over 3 games obv. still on pace for 325.

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