(The opinions expressed in Catz's Corner are neither approved, spell checked, or condoned by the editors and blog lords at The Good Phight, but hey, that's what happens when you let the inmates loose in the asylum.)
I have a confession to make. I haven't been a good fan the past week or so. Between work, the west coast trip, the seemingly dire offensive situation, our place in the standings, and my continued obsession with trading my entire roster in the fantasy league, I've spent more time watching Texas Rangers games than Phillies games. I haven't seen a complete game beginning to end in a while, and for that reason, I've been at a bit of a loss when it comes to contributing. To be blunt, I haven't really cared much lately.
Until yesterday that is. When the news about Michael Pineda broke. While I felt bad for the guy (but not Cashman for trading Montero...IDIOT!!!) My thoughts quickly turned.
My first thought was "I wonder if Phrozen is looking for another pitcher".
My second was "F&^K! This just raised Hamels price up 10MM over 5 years easily."
(My third thought G*& #@$n Jack Zduresnik strikes again.)
And in that moment I realized something for the first time. There's a distinct possibility that Cole Hamels won't be a Philly next year. 20mm a year wasn't gonna cut it. some quick research told me CC Sabathia was the highest paid (by AAV) pitcher in the game at $24.4mm per. Was Hamels worth that? Cause surely, that's what he was gonna shoot for now. I spent some time contemplating in my mind whether that was both feasible and practical. Then I watched my first game start to finish in about two weeks.
Hamels dominated for 8 innings. 1 walk, 7 K's, to make it 3/30 on the season in 4 starts. To put that into Hamels perspective, in 2011 he didn't record his 30th K until his 5th start, and had racked up 9 walks. 2010? he had 4 walks in his first start. he's a notoriously slow starter. Not this year. This year he's a man on a mission. He's gonna get paid. the question I had was whether or not he was worth it.
I spent the majority of the day yesterday scouring statistics, and Cot's contracts, looking for statistical and empirical data to back up my theory. I looked at historical evidence of pitchers like Curt Schilling who blossomed in their early thirties. I compared his numbers at 29 to those of Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia. I calculated WAR projections, FIP projections based on regression and future trends, I put together a really cool schmenkman style spreadsheet....
And I'm not gonna use any of it.
Mainly because after doing all the research, the number I came up with (@22MM for 5 years) wasn't gonna cut it in my mind. Hamels wasn't WORTH 25MM a year.
But he's gonna get it.
Philsandthrills summed it up best on twitter today:
"I think I might have to root for Phil Hughes to succeed, just so the Yanks aren't as desperate to sign a SP."
The problem with that statement is that Phil Hughes isn't going to succeed. At least not enough for the Yankees to go with a rotation of Sabathia, Nova, Hughes, Betances and Banuelos next year. Not without Michael Pineda. Not with a bunch of money coming off the books in 2013 and a bunch more in 2014. Not when they didn't spend this year. Not when their "trade for rising talent" philosophy just took a long ass reality ride on the torn labrum express.
Not when Magic Johnson and the Dodgers new owners are wiping their behinds with $100 bills. Salivating over bringing the California kid home to the team he rooted for as child. That's every boys dream. Think about it. You. Guy reading this phillies blog. Suddenly you can pitch like Hamels, and you spend the first 7 years of your career playing for the Giants. Then Ruben calls and offers you more money than god to be a philly.
Excited? Yeah. Thought so.
Not when the Red Sox are in shambles. I don't even need to go there, do I?
Hamels agent is gonna try and make him the highest paid pitcher in the history of the game if he hits free agency.
Whatever it takes to get it done now, is probably 2MM a year less than we'll have to pay on the open market, and 3MM less than whatever the highest offer will be.
A few nights ago, Kyle Kendrick showed us what 3MM gets you. Hey Rube? how bout you bring up a few young gun arms and cut ties with KK, forget 2007, and pay Hamels?
Without Hamels, You're looking at a rotation of Lee, Halladay, Worley, and insert two other guys. Sure there are a few other notable free agents out there (Greinke, Colby Lewis, Brandon McCarthy to name a few...) but none of them are Hamels.
And when Lee or Halladay start to lose their edge, in two years, three years? After we've traded away May and Biddle for the 2014 version of Hunter Pence? Who's left?
That's the reason this has to happen, because as much as guys like Taco Pal and myself and many others on this site will preach it come deadline time, we're not a developmental organization. We're in the business of asset management. It's not that this organization won't develop another Hamels. But its more likely that guy will be pitching for someone else, while their now 35 year old 3rd baseman is hobbling around our hot corner in 2015 than the other way around.
That magical window everyone talks about? You wanna see it close? Let Hamels sign with the Yankees or Dodgers over 15MM. Watch your fan base whittle away like it did in the late 90's, after we lose the NL championship series with Hamels on the hill in Dodger Blue. Let Cataldi have his field day then, and watch your season ticket orders vanish faster than Juan Pierre's ability to get a jump off first base.
Whatever he's asking now, give him. Get it done. Now. Don't wait. Don't quibble. Not here. Not with him. Because The Dodgers are gonna offer him more than he's asking today in free agency. So are the Yankees. So are the Red Sox.
And if Lincecum's hip finally breaks, so are the Giants.
If Verlander's elbow snaps? Detroit will be in.
Anybody think the Rangers will go after him instead of Colby Lewis?
How'd you like to face Strasburg, Hamels, Gio et all in the same division. Washington has the cash too.
Some things make sense. Some don't. sometimes you pay more to get what you want, sometimes you pay more to get what you need.
This is a case of both.
Pay Hamels, Ruben.
After the Howard contract, you owe us that much, no?
I leave you (and you Philsandthrills) with a quote from the immortal Buster Olney regarding Pineda
The Mariners didn’t cheat, the Yankees weren’t idiots. It just didn’t work out.
We CAN cheat.
Ruben, PLEASE don't be an idiot.
Work this shit out.