Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels signed a six-year, $144 million contract extension Wednesday, a deal that prevents the All-Star left-hander from becoming a free agent after the season.
The extension runs through the 2018 season and includes a vesting option for 2019 along with a limited no-trade provision.
The Phillies have officially announced the deal and will hold a news conference with the 2008 World Series MVP at noon ET before their game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
It's the largest contract signed by a Philadelphia athlete and second-highest for a pitcher behind the $161 million deal the New York Yankees gave CC Sabathia in December 2008. Hamels' contract also is the largest contract signed by a Philadelphia athlete.
Although he likely would have been the most coveted free-agent pitcher this coming offseason, Hamels consistently has said that he enjoys playing in Philadelphia and would love the opportunity to emulate one of his boyhood heroes, Tony Gwynn, and play his entire career for one franchise.
Hamels, 28, becomes the third Phillies starter making $20 million per season, joining Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
A three-time All-Star, Hamels is 11-4 with a 3.23 ERA this season and owns a career record of 85-58 with a 3.38 ERA in seven years in Philadelphia. The lanky lefty has never won more than 15 games in a season, and his 2.79 ERA in 2011 was the only time he was under 3.06.
Hamels reached the majors in 2006 after battling injuries in the minors. He went 15-5 with a 3.39 ERA in his first full season in 2007, establishing himself as the team's ace and helping the Phillies win the first of five consecutive NL East titles.
Hamels was the team's ace in 2008 when he went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts. He was MVP of the NLCS against Los Angeles and helped the Phillies beat Tampa Bay in five games for their second World Series title in franchise history.
But Hamels struggled in 2009, going 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA that year and pitching poorly in the postseason as the Phillies tried for a repeat. Hamels was passed over for veteran Pedro Martinez to start Game 2 of the World Series at hostile Yankee Stadium. Hamels then blew a 3-0 lead in a pivotal loss in Game 3, and New York took the series in six games.
Following the additions of Halladay and Lee, Hamels went from ace to No. 3 starter. He began 2011 as the No. 4 starter behind Halladay, Lee and Roy Oswalt. There's no doubt that Hamels is the team's best pitcher this season -- and now richest, too. Halladay is 4-5 and Lee is 1-6.
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