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Cole Hamels’ possible one-year deal, and Ryan Madson in the case of the overvalued closer (?)

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"KEEP ON PHIGHTIN' WITH JOE VALLEE"

Negotiations in baseball are never easy. This is especially true when you’re arguably one of the best young left-handers in the game, and are due for a big pay raise when your current contract expires.

Such might be the case with Cole Hamels. Phillies Assistant GM Scott Proefrock was rather coy on whether the Phillies tried to work out a long-term deal with Hamels yet this off-season. Proefrock however, did say he thought the team had plenty of time to do so and we’re mainly focused on a one-year arbitration deal, which doesn’t sound completely assuring.

The words Cole Hamels and free agent market in the same sentence are not two things you want to hear if you’re a Phillies fan, especially with theCole Hamels must rebound in 2010 if the Phillies are to reclaim their World Championship. Photo: http://payoffpitch.mlblogs.com/cole-hamels.jpg Yankees and Red Sox always ready to sweep in at a moments notice. Although Hamels has had a few arm injuries in his career (particularly in 2007 as well as last August), that most likely wouldn’t deter teams from giving him a nice five-year deal in the $100 million range with a possible sixth year option. Keep in mind Hamels only turned 28 a few weeks ago. And with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee aging, the Phils can ill afford to let him walk.  

Oddly enough, Hamels’ name has been mentioned in trade rumors for the second time in as many months over the last few days. The first involved Hamels in a possible deal with Gio Gonzalez, who has since been traded to the Nationals. The second rumor about Hamels being a fit for the Blue Jays seems more like internet fodder than anything,  but you have to wonder whether the Phillies are exploring all options involving the future of Hamels if they aren’t confident a long-term deal can get done.  

Although the Phillies had other priorities this off-season (signing Jimmy Rollins and Jonathan Papelbon), it would have been great to ink Hamels now and not to have worries down the line. While some athletes don’t like discussing contracts in the middle of the season, here’s hoping the Phightins can get something done before summer time with King Cole.

Ryan Madson and the case of the overvalued closer (?)ryan madson

We next discuss one of the crazier dynamics of the off-season: the under valued/overvalued closer.

With 32 saves for the team with more regular season victories in all of baseball, you would think Ryan Madson would have been in high demand on the free agent market this off-season.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Spring Training. The Red Sox acquired Andrew Bailey from the A’s, and Heath Bell inked a 3-year $27 million dollar deal with the Marlins.

The consensus was that the Phillies set the bar high in the closer’s market with the Jonathan Papelbon signing, but that figure would turn out to be the highest a free agent closer would receive this off-season.

After watching this unravel, it’s pretty obvious the Phillies overvalued Papelbon, but did Scott Boras overvalue Madson? Or did the market just dry up for Madson? Were clubs skeptical at his limited experience in the closer’s role?  Was he ever really offered 4 years-44 million dollars by the Phillies? Boras says yes, but Ruben Amaro insists there was never an agreement. The Phillies are known for locking up their home-grown talent, so it doesn’t make much sense for them to present that deal, have the other side agree to it, then go in another direction. However, the Phillies were simultaneously negotiating with Papelbon and I’m not in the war room, so who knows?

Either way, a $8.5 million deal with the Reds isn’t chump change, but it’s a steep drop compared to what Madson would have reportedly made if he signed with the Phillies. Nonetheless, Madson will be highly motivated to come up big in 2012. There’s a weaker closer’s market in 2013 that’s ripe for the taking, and he can finally cash in if he is healthy and has a strong showing this season.

And finally, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has decided to remain commissioner until 2014.

God help us all......

In the meantime, Keep On Phightin'

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Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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