Under Pat Gillick, the Phillies were hesitant to give pitchers anything more than a 3-year deal. Hamels still has four more seasons under club control. He is also coming off a year in which he pitched a career-high 227 1/3 innings during the regular season alone. But Hamels has established himself as one of the true dominant starters in the game. He won the NLCS MVP and the World Series MVP and led the National League in innings. He is in line for a big raise. The question: How big?
There are two players to zero in on when trying to compare Hamels' situation. The one name Boggs mentioned was Dontrelle Willis, who agreed to a 1-year, $4.35 million deal with the Marlins in January of 2006. Another name to keep an eye on is Chien Ming-Wang, who lost his arbitration case last year and earned $4 million from the Yankees.
Using those two players as benchmarks, an educated guess would put Hamels' salary above both numbers. While Willis had more wins and a lower ERA at the time of his deal, Hamels has more strikeouts in fewer innings, plus a World Series MVP. You also have to factor in the rise in salaries over the past 3 years, and the fact that Hamels' 2008 salary of $500,000 was higher than either Willis' or Wang's was the year before their arbitration deals. Here are the career numbers of the three pitchers at the time of their deals:
Willis in 2005: 46-27, 3.27 ERA, 451 SO, 594 IP
Hamels in 2008: 38-23, 3.43 ERA, 518 SO, 543 IP
Wang in 2007: 46-18, 3.74 ERA, 227 SO, 533 2/3 IP
If I had to guess, I'd put Hamels' salary in the $5 million range next season. *