Cole Hamels now owns the second-largest salary in arbitration history ($15MM), and he's not stopping there. Agent John Boggs expects his client to be compensated as an "elite pitcher," and he doesn't consider Jered Weaver's team-friendly five-year, $85MM deal a factor. Explained Boggs to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
"I don't think it's a parallel. That contract is great for Jered. I understand it. But he took a different path and left a lot of money on the table. He came up through the Angels system and grew up in their backyard. He's pitching where he grew up. That situation appeals to him. It's a similar situation to when I had Tony Gwynn. Without getting into specifics of what we're looking for, the Weaver situation is unique to Weaver."
Weaver's contract covered his final arbitration year and then four free agent seasons at an average of $17.5MM. Unlike Weaver, Hamels was a Super Two player, and the salary of his final arbitration year has already been determined. Hamels' new contract will probably only cover free agent years. Even if he doesn't reach the $23-24MM range of C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee, I think six years and $120MM is just a starting point for Hamels, who will turn 29 during the 2012-13 offseason.
The Phillies have first dibs. According to Boggs, "When you're this close [to free-agency] you have mixed emotions. But Cole has come through the Phillies organization, and if you asked him his preference, more than likely he'd want to remain with the Phillies. That's how it would be going into the negotiations, but every negotiation is different. Everything depends on our perceived value of what Cole is worth and what their perceived value of him is. That will dictate if a long-term deal gets done. We'll always give the Phillies every opportunity to secure him."