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Cole Hamels, Phillies Avoid Arbitration, Agree to One Year, $15 Million Deal

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The Phillies and left-hander Cole Hamels agreed to a one-year, $15 million contract today, avoiding salary arbitration and kicking the can down the road on efforts to keep the homegrown 28 year old in Philadelphia beyond 2012. Per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, the agreement was reached prior to the Phillies and Hamels' camp exchanging arbitration figures, something of a good sign that there's communication and a good faith meeting of the minds, which may bode well for future negotiations. Hamels earned $9.5 million in 2011.

Hamels is coming off the best season of his Major League career. His 2.79 ERA was eighth best in the National League, and his 4.41 strikeout-to-walk ratio was fifth. His 3.03 SIERA was also fifth in the league, behind only teammates Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, Cy Young Award winning Clayton Kershaw, and former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.

The agreement leaves only Hunter Pence and Wilson Valdez as the Phillies' outstanding arbitration cases.