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Hamels staying in Philly after signing $144 million deal over six years

Cole Hamels remains a Phillie -- and a fabulously wealthy one at that. (US Presswire)

It's official -- Cole Hamels has signed a six-year extension worth $144 million with the Phillies.

Philadelphia put out a press released Wednesday morning that said the two sides had agreed to the extension through the 2018 season with a club/vesting option for 2019. Hamels will also have a limited no-trade provision until his five-and-10 rights kick in.

With the 28-year-old left-hander off the market, Milwaukee's Zack Greinke becomes the belle of the trade deadline ball, unless perhaps the Marlins are serious about dealing Josh Johnson.

Hamels' deal beats Johan Santana's $137.5 million deal with the Mets, making it the second highest ever given to a pitcher. CC Sabathia's $161-million, seven-year Yankees deal is the record.

Hamel's new contract gives him the same annual salary as his teammate and friend Cliff Lee, who has a $120-million, five-year deal.

The deal was struck late Tuesday night, and a press conference is expected Wednesday to announced Hamels will remain in Philly through the 2018 season.

The Phillies have a great recent history of their homegrwon stars. Ryan Howard, Chase Utkey and Jimmy Rollins all signed long-term deals (Rollins actually has signed two of them). The deal for Lee represented a reunion, as he had previously played for the Phillies.

The Phillies offered Hamels $80 million late last season in a deal he rebuffed, but they didn't get back to the negotiating table until a week ago. The result is that Hamels made $64 million by waiting about 10 months.

Hamels always loved Philadelphia, the question was whether he'd leave for the opportunity to look around. The Los Angeles Dodgers, with their new rich ownership team, were seen as a threat to sign him. Ken Rosenthal had reported the sides were close to a deal.

Earlier Wednesday morning, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reported:

The news of Hamels' signing shouldn't have a huge impact on the trade market, because in recent days there had already been a feeling that Hamels was more likely than not to re-sign. It could leave the Brewers' Zack Greinke as the unquestioned gem of the July pitching market, but with the possibility that the Marlins could deal Josh Johnson and the Rays could deal James Shields, even that isn't as clear.

For Hamels, who grew up in San Diego but was originally drafted and signed by the Phillies, the deal gives him a chance to play his entire career with the organization. Hamels has said that matters to him, and cited growing up as a Padre fan following Tony Gwynn (who never played for another team).

Hamels had always said he preferred to remain in Philadelphia, but he also said that the prospect of free agency was intriguing, because it allowed a player to find out how the market valued his skills. While Hamels' contract will be seen as a very fair deal for him (it's for more money than Matt Cain signed for earlier this season), we'll never know (and he'll never know) if a team like the Dodgers would have offered him even more than that on the free-agent market.

For the Phillies, signing Hamels was seen as crucial, because at 28 he's by far the youngest member of a top-of-the rotation trio that also includes 35-year-old Roy Halladay and 33-year-old Cliff Lee.

The Phillies could look to trade Lee (the Rangers have some interest), but some in the organization believe they're more likely to simply keep their strong rotation together as they try to win next year. Also, after back-to-back comeback wins over the Brewers, the Phillies may once again begin thinking that they can make a miracle comeback into this year's pennant race.

It's still possible that the Phillies could trade other players, such as center fielder Shane Victorino or left fielder Juan Pierre. Victorino isn't expected to be back next season, in any case, as the Phillies have made little or no effort to sign him and keep him away from free agency.

And with the Phillies, it's usually quite clear who they really want to keep. They didn't really want to keep Jayson Werth, and he left. They really did want to keep Ryan Howard, and despite predictions that he would never sign, he did, when they offered him a huge contract ($125 million for five years).

The Phillies wanted to keep Jimmy Rollins, too. Rollins did get to free agency, but eventually the Phillies gave him $33 million over three years, and he stayed.

 

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