Phillies' offer late last year to Hamels of "Weaver money" won't cut it now

The Phillies are going to have to come up on their contract offer of about $85 million over five years from late last season to Cole Hamels if they are to re-sign him after Matt Cain signed his $112.5-million extension with the Giants. Way, way up.

The Phillies' offer to pay Hamels what ammounted to "Jered Weaver money'' seemed quite reasonable at the time. The Giants' original offer months ago to Cain was much less than that $85 million, and in fact is believed to have been below $65 million, so the Phillies' bid to Hamels was a serious one.

But Hamels was wise to wait, as it turns out.

It isn't known if the Phillies have come up a bit from where they stood late last season, but there was no real evidence the sides were anywhere close to a deal as of Monday night. Hamels' side is believed to have had a goal of nine figures, anyway, but the Cain deal certainly bolstered their position. Really, the Cain deal established a baseline for Hamels.

The two pitchers are pretty comparable, but a close look gives Hamels the edge, if anything. Cain is a year younger at 27 and has a slightly lower ERA, 3.35 to 3.39, but Hamels has a better record, going 74-54 to 69-73 for Cain, and a lower WHIP, 1.14 to 1.20.

Cain benefits by a bigger ballpark and isn;t handicapped as much as you'd think by a lack of run support (neither pitcher has been supported especially well in the last couple years, with Cain getting 3.75 runs support and Hamels 3.80). Both have been extremely clutch, with Hamels winning the 2008 World Series MVP and Cain allowing no earned runs in the 2010 postseason. Hamels also get a slight preference because he's lefthanded.

Hamels is willing to entertain a contract offer or two during the season, though he prefers not to get into a back-and-forth once the season starts. Assuming the Phillies come with one soon, they'll have to do a lot better than they did late last season.

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