How Do The Pieces Fit?
This week has been a crazy one. We’ve had a bunch of stories on Cole Hamels‘ $144 million contract extension, including this one from Paul Hagen yesterday.
Somebody figured out Hamels will make roughly $727,272 per start over the life of his contract, figuring 33 starts per season. He will make $148,148 per game, regardless if he pitches or not. He will make $16,460 per inning, figuring 1,458 innings per season.
It kind of puts $24 million per year into perspective, doesn’t it?
But Hamels isn’t the only highly paid player on the Phillies’ roster. Far from it. The Phillies already have Cliff Lee ($25 million), Roy Halladay ($20 million), Ryan Howard ($20 million), Hamels ($19.5 million), Chase Utley ($15 million), Jonathan Papelbon ($13 million), Jimmy Rollins ($11 million), Carlos Ruiz ($5 million club option), Kyle Kendrick ($4.5 million) and Laynce Nix ($1.35 million) under contract next season. Hunter Pence could make about $14 million as a salary arbitration eligible player, too.
That’s more than $148 million committed to just 11 players.
That is why the Phillies would trade Pence and Lee. Moving Pence and Lee, whether it’s before Tuesday’s trade deadline or in the offseason, would clear about $39 million from the 2013 payroll. But it also would create more holes on the roster. The Phillies would be in better position to address holes at third base, left field, center field and in the bullpen, if they cleared those salaries from the ledger, but they also would create holes in right field and in the rotation. The Phillies have been down that road before. They traded Lee to Seattle in Dec. 2009, then needed to trade a boatload of prospects to Houston in July 2010 for Roy Oswalt. They erred when they thought Ben Francisco could handle right field after Jayson Werth left in Dec. 2010, then sent another boatload of prospects in July 2011 for Pence.
“Ruben has his work cut out for him,” David Montgomery said Wednesday.
Truer words have never been spoken.
“We did discuss the fact, the magnitude of the contract, would it hinder us from doing some other things,” Amaro said about a conversation he had with Hamels before he agreed to the extension. “In some cases it might, but again as I’ve told him, our goal remains the same, to try to put pieces of the puzzle around these core players to make sure we’re a championship caliber club.”
I’m not sure how Amaro is going to try to make this work, but it’s going to be quite the magic show.