While the Philadelphia Phillies are making one last push to try to keep the Cole Hamels in Philadelphia, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the length of the contract very well might be the issue right now.
The Phillies seem to follow an organizational policy that dictates that they will not sign pitchers to contracts longer than five years.
If the Phillies are ever going to make an exception, now is the time to do that.
First of all, Hamels is 28 years old. Even if he signs a six-year contract, it isn't like he is going to be old when the contract is over.
When they signed Roy Halladay to his three-year contract with a fourth-year option, they knew that that deal would not be complete until he was 36 or 37.
Similarly, with Cliff Lee, his contract won't be expired until he's either 37 or 38 if his option is exercised.
Hamels would only be 34 at the end of a six-year contract. While it is a pretty big risk to sign anybody long-term, a six-year would essentially keep him in Philadelphia through what should be his prime.
Another reason to make an important exception here for Hamels is because he could easily be part of the future.
If the Phillies are actually trying to rebuild the team, why would you trade away one of the best pitchers in all of baseball? He has been their best pitcher throughout the season, and he seems to be getting better every season.
While Hamels has said that he would love to come back to Philadelphia as a free agent even if he is traded at the deadline, once he hits the market, his value is going to skyrocket.
If the Phillies want to bring back Hamels long-term, they really should do it right now.
While a long contract is definitely a risk, when you look at the actual breakdown of what a six-year contract would look like, it is definitely possible and likely that Hamels will be highly effective for the next six years.
He will simply be pitching through the middle of his career, and the Philadelphia Phillies should make sure that that happens in the City of Brotherly Love.
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