Six years, $144 million.
When Philadelphia Phillies fans heard these numbers in the midst of trade rumors surrounding some of the team's best players, a collective sigh of relief swept through the City of Brotherly Love.
Cole Hamels, the centerpiece of the Phillies franchise, is locked up through the 2018 season. And since signing his monster contract, Hamels has already proven that he is worth the money.
Since agreeing to the contract offer, Hamels has pitched in eight games where he is 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 56.2 innings pitched. In those games the Phillies are 5-3. In all games since Hamels' contract agreement on July 25, the Phillies are 27-17 and find themselves in a situation where they could potentially make a playoff run.
Make no mistake about it, Hamels is the best pitcher on the Phillies roster. He is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball with his 14-6 record, a 3.03 ERA and 184 strikeouts.
Talent-wise, Hamels is worth $144 million over six years. But, what he offers this Phillies team that will have about $20 million to spend this offseason, is a reason for free-agent talent to flock to his side and help bring a World Series to Philadelphia.
Signing Hamels made Philadelphia a destination.
Free agents who are seeking out multi-year deals can look at the Phillies and see that they have an ace signed for six more years. Along with that ace are two other All-Star caliber starters and two up-and-coming pitchers who can combine to make one of the best rotations in baseball.
So, if you're B.J. Upton or Michael Bourn, and you see that the Phillies have a solid rotation lined up for the next few years, why wouldn't you want to go to Philadelphia?
With Hamels locked up, the rotation looks strong, and free agents can go to Philadelphia to fill the holes left in the lineup and in the bullpen.
To sum this up, by signing Hamels the Philadelphia Phillies established that they are not rebuilding, they are retooling. They have a new face of the franchise and they are ready to compete for a World Series next year.
Don't worry, Philadelphia, this isn't going to be a rebuilding process. The Phillies are going to be legitimate contenders next year, and a lot of that can be credited to the $144 million man.
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