NOTE: I've decided to publish all my thoughts from the past as I reboot this blog to one with actual thoughts. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by how many posts I have in the draft folder, so a lot may not be as current as I like. This post was mostly written in July 2012. I've finished it up now. So the perspective is a little skewed.
With the news that all Phillies fans were waiting for in some fashion (either for or against the extension), the wait is over. Cole Hamels has signed a 6 year contract extension with the Fightins' for a cool $144 mil. The Phillies team that Hamels grew up with has not grown up with him. There are vestiges of the old team left behind. The "four aces and Blanton" of 2011 have become 2 aces, a broken Halladay, and a Blanton. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are hurting, Jimmy Rollins is slumping, and for some reason, Hunter Pence's socks continue playing and pretending to be a cleanup hitter.
It may sound like an expensive investment, but Hamels is 28 with a talent level at about a 135 ERA+ (after the pitching adjustment after the 2009 season), which is one step below elite. For comparison purposes, Halladay had an ERA+ average of 160 the last four years before his breakdown. In other words, Hamels would be an ace on many a team. And now, he's cost controlled at a just below market value. They'll get him for $19.5 million for 2013 and then $22.5 million per year through 2018 with an option for 2019.
Free agent prices are on the rise, so market value now is essentially the same as below market value in 4 years. As it is, he will be the 8th highest paid pitcher in the league, and can be as good as the 3rd best pitcher (in my humbly humble opinion) of the league.
Here are 10 reasons why this is good for the Phillies, me, and Phillies fans.
10. Hamels is at the tail end of his prime, and can be expected to have at least 3 more years of quality ace-like pitching.
9. Hollywood will start to be a popular child's name in the Philadelphia area, confusing everyone everywhere.
8. With his postseason experience, he can serve as a mentor to the Vance Worleys and Justin DeFratuses of the world.
7. Copycat fans can wear long hair again and relive the 1993 season without feeling an identity crisis.
6. There will be about $50 million of free space on the payroll even with the extension to replace the replaceable parts of Juan Pierre, Ty Wigginton, Kevin Frandsen, et al to improve the depth of the team; those guys were not good.
5. Leftorium stores will sweep the area as all 6-8 year olds start becoming left handed.
4. This is a sign the Phillies haven't thrown in the towel yet on the 2012 season; though they were 14 games under .500 on July 14; I actually don't know what the path is.
3. OK, this is really a positive for everyone, but the pitching simulators at fanfest will be able to recognize the majesty of my changeup after I replicate Hamel's grip and motion after 6 more years of study.
2. If the Phillies ever fall out of contention, which is bound to happen at some point, Hamels will be the perfect launching pad around which to build a team, much like Felix Hernandez is (ok, not the best example)
and reason #1......dancing and more dancing.