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Phils sign Hamels: 3 years, $20.5 million

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Done deal. My regard for Ruben Amaro Jr. just went up about five levels. 

Reportedly, Hamels will pull down $4.35 million in 2009, $6.65 million next season, and $9.5 million in 2011. Given the strong likelihood that he would have gotten more in arbitration for each of those seasons--aside from injury, of course--one has to give Amaro tremendous credit here. It's also a strong move to counter what otherwise could be public fallout from the near-inevitable coming contract battle with Ryan Howard: as with when the Phils inked Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell to long-term contracts after conflict with Scott Rolen, it will now be that much harder to make the case that the team is generically cheap. 

Happy day.