With the Philadelphia Phillies picking up Cliff Lee in a deal that shocked all of baseball last month, there has been a lot of talk about the how good the Phillies current rotation is, which ranks probably within the best five rotations in baseball history. The 2011 Phillies rotation compares to the rotations of the Atlanta Braves from the mid-1990s, the 1971 Orioles with Jim Palmer, and the 1966 Dodgers with Sandy Koufax.
Sadly for the Phillies fans, this rotation has a life of probably no more than two years. After the 2011 season, two of the pitchers of this potentially legendary rotation could be seeking new contracts. Cole Hamels' contract ends after this season, and Roy Oswalt has a $16 million club option for the 2012 season. It is possible that the option might occur for 2012, but he is only 33 and may be seeking a multi-year contract following 2011.
Assuming that Oswalt will be looking for an opportunity following 2011 to find a multi-year deal to retire with, it is vitally important for the Phillies to sign Hamels to a contract very soon in order to avoid a contract war. Hamels is not eligible to be a free agent until after the season of 2012, but he is due arbitration following this coming season, which would put his value much higher than his current contract. The 2010-2011 offseason has seen a great deal of pitcher changes, and the Phillies need to insure soon that Hamels is not among that list for next season.