Would Letting Cole Hamels Walk Be Bigger Mistake Than Trading Cliff Lee?

Joe IannelloAnalyst IIIJanuary 19, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 16:  Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 16, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

People across the city took to the streets, airwaves and television to voice their displeasure, sickness and flat-out anger when the Philadelphia Phillies announced that they traded away man-crush Cliff Lee. Lee had seemingly just finished dominating the team that everyone loves to hate most (New York Yankees) when GM Ruben Amaro was finally able to land his main target in Roy Halladay.

Lee was traded on the same day in a move that was intended to "replenish the farm system." The city of Philadelphia is much too smart to accept such an explanation for a move that was clearly financially motivated.

The Phillies knew that Lee was expecting a huge payday via free agency (ironically from the Phillies, but that's another story), and they made the decision to get prospects for a guy that they would be unable to re-sign.

Lee is a Cy Young-caliber pitcher, but when he was shipped to the Seattle Mariners the city took it personally.

How dare our beloved Phillies trade away a guy that embodies everything that is great about our city? Blue collared and tenacious, he was a guy that just seemed to "get it" when it came to being an athlete in the greatest sports town in the world. 

Credit to Ruben Amaro and the rest of the Phillies ownership in swallowing their pride and re-signing the player that they never should've traded in the first place to a monster deal. Now the clock is ticking on Ruben Amaro to re-sign his youngest and brightest star, King Cole Hamels.

Cliff Lee has already etched his name into the minds and hearts of Philadelphia for his great postseason, but Cole Hamels delivered a World Series to a championship-starved city. Hamels is reportedly seeking a Cliff Lee-type deal, and many around MLB are questioning whether the Phillies will pony up another $20-25 million a year for a starting pitcher.


News check, Ruben—pay the man!

Hamels will be 28 this season and may not even have entered his prime yet. Pretty scary to think about considering he is 74-54 with a 3.39 ERA and 1.14  WHIP over his young career.

Not to mention, he is 7-4 in the postseason. Hamels has everything that you would want in a starting pitcher. He throws in the mid-90s, has a great cutter and one of the best changeups in MLB.

Again, he will only be 28 this season; an age when many pitchers just start tapping into how great they can truly be.

The New York Yankees are salivating at this point with the opportunity to sign one of the game's best in Cole Hamels. Ruben Amaro was able to ink Hamels to a one-year, $15 million deal to avoid arbitration, but his work is just beginning.

Citizens Bank Park sells out every night, and the Phillies led MLB again in attendance in 2011. Popcorn, ice cream, cheese steaks, adult beverages and merchandise for the Phightins sell as soon as they hit the shelf.

Cole Hamels must be re-signed by the Philadelphia Phillies to a long-term extension. Ruben Amaro's legacy and the future of this franchise depend on it.

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