The headline of this article from Jim Salisbury reads "Hamels negotiations starting to heat up". I decided I didn't want to go that far, because all that's happening is that the Phillies and Hamels' agent are talking. To me, "heat up" implies significant progress. Anyway, that's not what's important. Some stuff:
John Boggs, Hamels' San Diego-based representative, is spending the week in the Clearwater area. He has already spoken to Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and plans to again before heading back west. Hamels, of course, is eligible for free agency after the season.
Nobody's setting a deadline for an agreement. But during the season, of course, Hamels doesn't want to be distracted. Buster Olney reported that there was no movement in talks on Tuesday, which isn't a huge shock. I think, in the end, this is going to be pretty simple.
The Phillies have said that the money to re-sign Hamels is there. The issue is the contract length. Hamels is a free agent after the season, and he'll be 28 years old. He's looking to sign something lucrative and long. The Phillies can do the lucrative part, but they gave Cliff Lee five years with an option, and they gave Roy Halladay three years with an option. What if Hamels wants, say, seven years? Would he be willing to sign the Cliff Lee contract? Would the Phillies be willing to give him the Cliff Lee contract? Age is on Hamels' side, but pitchers are pitchers.
It's hard to see Cole Hamels leaving the Phillies for another team. Hamels is established in Philadelphia, and the Phillies generally don't let players get away. But if the Phillies don't want to go as long as Hamels wants to go, and if the Dodgers enter the market next fall flush with money...