If Phillies Can’t Afford To Keep Hamels, Should Mets Go After Him?

An article by posted on January 2, 2011

I read an article today in the Philadelphia Inquirer, that said the Phillies have not discussed an extension with left-handed starting pitcher Cole Hamels.

Theoretically, he is the next in line for a multiyear extension, but those talks have yet to begin. As the Phillies’ payroll grows, it’s natural to wonder where Hamels fits.

Then again, it’s also possible that the Phillies will resolve the Hamels question before next winter arrives. But Hamels’ agent, John Boggs, said recently that the Phillies have not approached him to negotiate his client’s next contract. Boggs said the ball was in the Phillies’ court and he would be open to discussions during the season if the team initiates.

Hamels, 27 this week, is currently playing under a contract he signed in 2009, but expires after the 2011 season. He would still be eligible for one more year of arbitration that could see him eclipse over $15 million dollars.

Can the Phillies afford to keep three starting pitchers who will eat up over a third of their payroll?

Especially with decisions also looming on Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley? Hamels earned just $6.65 million dollars in 2010.

While pitching in one of baseball’s most notorious hitters parks, Hamels has shined. Last season he pitched 208 innings and had a 3.06 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP while striking out 211 batters (sixth best in MLB) and walking 60.

The Phillies are probably in no rush to do anything this season, but by next offseason the rubber will certainly hit the road and they will be faced with some big decisions, chief among them will be the Hamels situation.

It’s a slow new days, and rather than recycling the same old Mets news again and again, lets kill some time debating the merits of the Mets chasing down the young and very prized southpaw.

The Phillies do have one or two gems in their farm system, but they certainly could use some restocking after unloading most of their riches to acquire Oswalt, Lee and Halladay. Also, Pagan would certainly look appealing to a team that may have to fork over tens of millions to keep Shane Victorino in CBP.

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