Yesterday Tom Verducci of showed that James Shields and Cole Hamels have very similar career stats. However, Hamels was called up a little earlier giving him “Super Two” status, thus making Hamels arbitration-eligible a year earlier than Shields.

Verducci argues that the Super Two status is the reason that Hamels’ salary will be more than twice as much as Shields’ salary from 2007 through 2011 ($21.4MM vs $9.6MM). In fact Verducci tries to argue that calling Hamels up early and giving him two extra starts in May 2006 cost the Phillies over $11 million.

Clearly Hamels’ Super Two status meant more money, but it was far from the only reason he will make more than Shields.

Other reasons Hamels will make more money…

  1. While their stat lines are similar now, Shields stat line was much different when he signed his contract.
  2. Hamels is left-handed, Shields is not.
  3. Hammels was a first round pick. Shields was selected in the 16th round. While that means little now, it does mean that more is expected from Hammels.
  4. Shields missed an entire season due to an arm injury while in the minors. Hammels has never suffered a major arm injury [Ed note: see comments]. While we are six seasons removed from Shields’ injury, it is something that at least needs to be considered moving forward.
  5. Hamels signed his deal after helping the Phillies win a World Series. Shields contract came after the Rays won 66 games.
  6. On his way to winning a World Series, Hamels was named NLCS MVP.
  7. Hamels was also named World Series MVP.
  8. Did we mention that Hamels will soon own a World Series ring?

But the biggest reason is that if you were to poll 30 GMs, and ask them who they would rather have anchoring their rotation for the next three years (ignore the contracts), 29 of them would pick Hamels. And that is only because Brian Sabean prefers to do just the opposite of what is logical.

In other words, the contracts are about right. This is not a knock on James Shields. He is a great pitcher. But he is not Cole Hamels.

Frankly, it was quite a stretch for Verducci to compare the contracts and an even bigger stretch to say that two starts in early 2006 cost the Phillies $11.8 million. We expect better from Verducci than a piece that smells like a diaper filled with Indian food.

Cold reality check for remaining free agents, plus more notes []


  • Apparently Pat Burrell is holding on to his money a little tighter these days, knowing he will only make $7 million in 2009, maybe half what he thought he would be making when free agency began. The Fightins brings us video of a vintage car auction in which Burrell is one of the final two bidders, but isn’t willing to go beyond $190K for the 1967 Plymouth Barracuda…By the way, listening to the auctioneer’s voice in the video clip will be the most horrific sounds you hear today. Consider yourself warned.  [The Fightins]
  • As we reported yesterday, the Rays failed to reach agreements with Dioner Navarro and Willy Aybar. All sides have now submitted figures for arbitration. Navarro is seeking $2.5 million while the Rays are offering $2.1 million. We projected Navarro at $2.3 million. Aybar is seeking $1.05 million, while the Rays are offering $900K. We projected Aybar at $1.0 million. If we split the difference on Navarro and Aybar, we missed on our original arbitration projections for the 5 players by a grand total of $289K, of which $200K was from Grant Balfour’s deal. And the $7.911 million for the five players is only $111K more than the $7.8 million we projected. [Rays Report]
  • In the same piece we learn that Dewon Day cleared waivers and has accepted an assignment to Durham, with an invitation to spring training. [Rays Report]
  • Rocco Baldelli took out a half-page ad in the St. Pete Times thanking the Tampa Bay fans. [The Heater]
  • At 2pm et today, the MLB Network will be airing the Rays May 13 extra-inning win over the Yankees. [MLB]


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