Jon Heyman from CBSSports.com is reporting that the Phillies are set to offer Cole Hamels a contract worth "at least" $120 million in an attempt to keep the left hander from pursuing free agency at the end of the season.
This should come as absolutely no surprise. It's a ton of money but we knew it would take this amount to keep him around.
Heyman notes that Cliff Lee's five year, $120 million deal would appear to be a starting point in negotiations. It's an interesting and not altogether inapt comparison. Lee was older in December 2010, but more accomplished and probably better than Hamels is now. Lee notoriously gave the Phillies a discount, however, and it's unclear whether Hamels intends to do so.
The goal isn't simply to keep Hamels. It's to keep him and pay him something close to market value for his services. Overpaying Hamels would only exacerbate many of the problems this franchise faces over the next few seasons.