Hamels, Phillies agree to $144M deal

BY Ken Rosenthal • July 24, 2012

Cole Hamels will remain with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The left-hander agreed to a six-year contract extension for $144 million on Wednesday that prevents him from becoming a free agent after the season.

A news conference is scheduled for noon before the game against Milwaukee.

The deal, which includes a club vesting option for 2019 and a limited no-trade provision, is the second largest ever awarded to a starting pitcher. Left-hander CC Sabathia signed a seven-year, $161 million contract with the New York Yankees as a free agent on Dec. 11, 2008.

By signing the contract, Hamels will ensure that he will not be traded before the non-waiver deadline Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, remaining with the team that made him the 17th overall pick in the 2002 draft.

Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke, who pitched well Tuesday night in Philadelphia after an 11-day layoff, will now become the biggest prize on the trade market.

The Texas Rangers were among the teams most eager to acquire Hamels, who was eligible for free agency at the end of the season.

The Phillies’ signing of Hamels, however, should increase the demand not only for Greinke, but other available starting pitchers such as Tampa Bay Rays right-hander James Shields and Miami Marlins righty Josh Johnson.

Hamels, 28, was the MVP of the 2008 World Series, the Phillies’ first championship since 1980. He is 11-4 with a 3.23 ERA this season, 85-58 with a 3.39 ERA in his seven-year career.

The Phillies’ signing of Hamels means that the team will retain one of the game's top pitchers, but likely will trigger a series of trades to help the club not only reduce payroll, but also retool.

Outfielder Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence are among the Phillies most likely to be moved — Victorino is a potential free agent, and Pence’s salary could rise to $13 million next season in his final year of arbitration.

Some in the industry expect that the Phillies might also entertain offers for left-hander Cliff Lee, but Lee said last weekend that he would be “surprised” if the team traded him.

Lee, 33, is owed at least $87.5 million from 2013 to ’15, including a $12.5 million buyout on his $27.5 million club option for ’16. He also can be traded to only eight teams without his permission.

The Phillies sent Lee to the Seattle Mariners after the 2009 season to clear payroll for another ace they were about to acquire, right-hander Roy Halladay. But Lee then was entering the final year of his contract unsigned. He is now locked up long-term, and the Phillies want to keep their trio of Lee, Hamels and Halladay intact, sources say.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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