The long, national Cole Hamels nightmare is over: the Phillies announced Wednesday morning that they have signed Hamels to a six-year, $144-million contract extension with a vesting option for a seventh year that could keep him in red pinstripes through 2019.
At a press conference Wednesday, Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Cole has grown up with the team and he's one of the elite left-handers in the game, "We got to the finish line and that was the goal and the goal was to try and keep Cole in our uniform."
Hamels says the fans played a huge role in keeping him on the team. "The fans keep showing up, the motto is the Phightin' Phils and you never count them out until the very end, no matter what."
He'll now become the highest paid player in Phillies history. "Money has never been an issue of the reason why I get on that mound everyday and try to win ballgames," said Hamels, who says he truly loves the game.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com recently reported that there was "a sense of optimism" that the team could work something out with Hamels. And it's hard to imagine how Hamels couldn't be swayed a little bit: after the All-Star Break, the Phils were reportedly prepping a big offer for the left-hander, and with each passing week, it seems as if the money Philadelphia was looking to pay Hamels went up around $10 million or so.
Hamels is 11-4 this season with a 3.23 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 133 innings.
But the lefty's drawn more attention for his potential free agency than he has for his pitching -- there's been a new Hamels-related rumor almost every day since the Phillies started struggling out of the gate, and appeared like sure-fire sellers at the deadline.
That's obviously changed, with the Phillies climbing within 9.5 games of the wild-card lead after winning their third-straight game in an improbable victory over the Brewers on Tuesday.