Cole Hamels, Phils avoid arbitration

Updated: January 18, 2012, 1:00 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels got one big raise. He'll have to wait for another one.

Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed on a $15 million, one-year contract Tuesday, avoiding arbitration. The 2008 World Series MVP is eligible for free agency after the season and could be in line to get at least a $100 million deal.

Hamels
Hamels

Hamels' salary is the highest ever for any arbitration-eligible pitcher before being eligible for free agency. In 2005, Roger Clemens accepted arbitration from the Astros when he was a free agent and wound up getting $18 million.

The previous record for an arbitration-eligible player was the $12.4 million that Carlos Zambrano received from the Chicago Cubs in 2007.

Hamels went 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA in 32 games last year. He was selected to his second All-Star game and finished fifth in NL Cy Young Award voting.

The 28-year-old lefty made $9.55 million in 2011. He could become Philadelphia's fourth $20 million-a-year-player in 2013, joining Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Ryan Howard.

"We're happy we've concluded the one-year portion of this," Hamels' agent, John Boggs, told ESPN.com. "And at the appropriate time, I'm sure we'll have dialogue with the Phillies and continue talking about a multiyear deal."

Hamels, a first-round draft pick in 2002, has spent his entire career with the Phillies. He is 74-54 with a 3.39 ERA in six seasons. Hamels is the first Phillies pitcher to record double-digit wins in five straight years since Hall of Famer Steve Carlton's 13-year streak from 1972-84.

Hamels helped the Phillies win their second World Series title in 2008 with one of the most dominant postseason performances in history. He was 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts.

The Phillies also avoided arbitration with infielder Wilson Valdez, agreeing to a $930,000, one-year deal. Valdez batted .249 with 14 doubles, four triples, one home run and 30 RBIs in 99 games. He also earned a win in his first career relief appearance on May 25 against Cincinnati in a 19-inning game.

All-Star right fielder Hunter Pence is the lone Phillies player remaining in arbitration. He asked for $11.8 million and the team countered at $9 million.

Information from ESPN.com's Jayson Stark and The Associated Press was used in this report.