|While the Phillies want to keep Hamels, he may be destined for free agency. (Getty Images)|
The Phillies are said to be planning to offer at least $120 million to star lefthander Cole Hamels in an effort to keep him in Philadelphia and prevent him from becoming a free agent, according to sources.
People with ties to the organization suggest the offer will be "significant'' and "substantial,'' though the exact figure isn't known. There are whispers they could go even go well north of the $120-million figure.
The Phillies hope to to keep Hamels, but some people within the organization aren't overly optimistic they can prevent him from going to free agency at this point. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, who is credited by people in the organization for his ability to lock up the team's stars to long deals, has said all along he hopes to keep Hamels. Amaro declined comment on the amount of the coming offer to Hamels.
Hamels has said, in turn, that he has very much enjoyed his time in Philadelphia, and he does live there year-round. But there are those wondering whether he may have concerns about the team's future after it's uncharacteristically rough start this season, or may even wonder why there hasn't been a more recent offer. The Phillies are believed to have proposed a deal for "Jered Weaver money,'' or about $85 million over five years, late last year.
An offer of $120 million over five years, which was the very deal Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies, was said by one person with Phillies ties to be their logical offer, though two management people on other teams said they believed they may have to go to something closer to Johan Santana's $137.5-million, six-year deal, or even more, to have a realistic chance at a quick deal.
Agent sources have suggested since spring Hamels could get upward of $150 million, or more, as a free agent.
The Phillies are almost forced to go past Matt Cain's $112.5-million, five-year deal with the Giants. The two pitchers have had similar careers, but Hamels is lefthanded and has a better lifetime winning percentage (though often being on a better team helps). Hamels is 11-4 with a 3.0& ERA this year for the last-place Phillies.