Photo of pitcher Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Image Credit: Ksebruce - Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

With more than $100 million already committed to 8 Phillies players in 2013, it will be very unlikely that the Philadelphia Phillies will be able to extend the 2008 World Series MVP. At the age of 29, it is imperative for him to get every dime he can get out of the ball club. It's not that the Phillies don't want to keep Cole Hamels in a Phillies uniform. This is a numbers game and both Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay are inked in for more than $20 million next season.

What teams could that include? Tough to say. Certainly a big market team that will be able to pay at least what Yu Darvish or CJ Wilson will be making in the American League. The Boston Red Sox will certainly be in the running for Cole Hamels. Gone are Jonathon Papelbon and starter Tim Wakefield so the Red Sox are running out of reliable veteran pitching options. They have to keep up with the New York Yankees in the American League East somehow, right?

The Chicago Cubs will also likely be another suitor for Hamels. I have a feeling Theo Epstein will add a few highly priced veterans in addition to a talented younger core (which they already have). The Cubs already don't have much depth to their rotation or bullpen with the exception of Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol. Carlos Zambrano is also a member of the Miami Marlins, a player that was being paid the kind of money Cole Hamels will be commanding.

Although Cole Hamels is a southern California guy, I don't see the San Diego Padres or Los Angeles Dodgers being in the race next season. The Dodgers are still recovering from the Frank Mccourt ownership era in terms of finances and the Padres are, well, the Padres. When do the Padres ever make big splashes on the free agent market?

The most frustrating aspect of the money issue in baseball is one player driving up the asking price of another player. "Cliff Lee got this, so I should get this based on my numbers." Inflated contracts lead to higher ticket prices and less money to spread around a ball club. In the long run, it is much better for the front office to stand firm and be prideful, even if that means losing a free agent like Cole Hamels to the New York Yankees. Hometown discount denied.


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