The numbers keep escalating but that the Phillies are still talking to Cole Hamels is a great sign. Former Reds and Nationals GM Jim Bowden is reporting that a deal could end up at $142 to $144 million.
$144 million over six years would represent a $24 million annual average value. That number would equal Cliff Lee's average salary in his five year, $120 million deal. Hamels would be getting an unprecedented sixth year from the Phillies, something they've never done for a pitcher.
Hamels is younger and could be more valuable down the line as Roy Halladay and Lee get older and head towards free agency. The Phillies could retool and continue to build around Hamels.
I would think this means a deal gets done. If a deal is not done, it is because Hamels does not want to return to the phillies at any price. The numbers are about right and Hamels and the Phillies have both expressed a desire to keep the relationship going.
The Phillies could still dump some salary to steer clear of this year's luxury tax, especially if it appears the Phillies won't be making any playoff revenue. Even with Hamels in the fold, they could try to accumulate prospects and free up money. The Phillies will still have some cash, even with three aces.