What does Matt Cain’s deal mean for the Phillies and Cole Hamels?

Hmmm ... Cole Hamels ponders his pending big payday. (Tim Farrell/The Star-Ledger)

It was not exactly a knockout punch, but it definitely was not something the Philadelphia Phillies wanted to see. Yesterday, the San Francisco Giants signed pitcher Matt Cain to a five-year contract with a guaranteed $112.5 million and the potential for $126 million. In doing so, they have just made the resigning of the Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels a little more difficult.

Cain has been one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball over the last five years, but clearly, his worth will be a huge factor in how much former World Series MVP Hamels signs for this year. If you look at the two pitchers, they are very comparable. Both have dominated in postseason play. Both have an ERA close to 3.00 and both are already World Series Champions. However, the one clear difference between the two is that Hamels is a southpaw and Cain is not.

With that being said, historically in baseball, the top paid pitchers are usually leftys. CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee both have signed large deals in recent years that are some of the biggest in baseball history. This is all combining to become quite the toxic formula for the Phillies. As I have stated before, the Fightins cannot afford to let this lefty stud sign somewhere else this year. If they want to contend for years to come,then they must keep this player who is expected to be the ace of the staff in four years.

If Cain is worth $112.5 million then what is Hamels worth? How long should the offer be? Will the Phillies go above the luxury tax to get this deal done? There are so many questions left to be answered. Earlier this week, Hamels was said to have been offered a four-year deal worth about $20 million per year, but unfortunately, that deal did not get done before Cain’s. Now, it is time for the Phillies organization to step up to the plate and offer a long deal. Do not risk losing him. It will be a huge mistake that may take over a decade to overcome.

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