Sources tell Jayson Stark of ESPN.com that the Philadelphia Phillies are preparing to offer a substantial contract extension to lefthander Cole Hamels in an attempt to sign him before the trading deadline.
Stark writes that the market for Hamels was established by the five-year, $112.5 million extension that the San Francisco Giants lavished on righthander Matt Cain, and also by the five-year, $120 million free-agent deal Philadelphia gave to lefthander Cliff Lee.
The Phillies have never given a pitcher more than five years guaranteed, but sources say that they have had numerous internal discussions about whether to break that rule for Lee.
Two rival executives said that the Philly front office has been expressing optimism that the team can get a deal done with Hamels. "They're trying to sign him," said one of those executives. "And they think it's going to happen. At least that's what I was told." If Hamels does not sign soon, Stark writes that the Phillies will likely try to trade him before the July 31 trading deadline.