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Hamels reaches 3-year deal with Phillies

Cole Hamels celebrates after the Phillies won Game 5 to clinch the World Series. Hames and the Phils just agreed to the three-year contract. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Cole Hamels celebrates after the Phillies won Game 5 to clinch the World Series. Hames and the Phils just agreed to the three-year contract. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)Read more

The last time Cole Hamels stood at a microphone at Citizens Bank Park was two days after the Phillies won the World Series.

Hamels told the adoring masses that he couldn’t wait to do it “again and again and again.”

The 25-year-old lefthander will be back at a microphone at the ballpark Sunday as the Phillies announce his three-year, $20.5 million contract extension in a news conference.

General manager Ruben Amaro would not comment on the deal that two team sources confirmed after it was first reported by the New York Post.

Hamels could not be reached for comment.

Hamels went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts, all Phillies wins. He was MVP of the National League championship series and World Series.

After the World Series, Hamels was asked if his October performance confirmed his status as a big-game pitcher.

“Shoot, I guess so,” he said. “I love to go out there and pitch. I love to go out there and win. That’s all I strive for.”

Hamels was 14-10 with a 3.09 ERA during the regular season. He had the lowest opponents’ on-base percentage (.272) in the majors. After spending parts of the previous four seasons on the disabled list, Hamels showed excellent durability in making 33 starts and finishing second in the NL with 227 1/3 innings pitched.

Seventeen of Hamels’ starts came at cozy Citizens Bank Park, where he posted an impressive 2.99 ERA.

“It’s a nice stadium — just from a pitcher’s standpoint, it’s very difficult,” pitcher John Smoltz, a regular visitor to Philadelphia with the Atlanta Braves, said during the postseason. “That’s why I’m amazed how well Hamels has done and how mature he is. His ERA is ridiculous in this stadium.’’

Hamels, who made $500,000 last season, had been eligible for salary arbitration for the first time. His new deal buys out three arbitration seasons. He is not eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season.

Hamels will make $4.35 million in 2009, $6.65 million in 2010 and $9.5 million in 2011. His salary jumps by $500,000 any year after he wins the Cy Young award, or by $250,000 any year after he finishes second or third in the voting.

The deal appears to be a good one for both Hamels and the team. Hamels gets security, which, given his injury history, is attractive. He also figures to be in his prime when the deal expires. The Phils get cost certainty while keeping with an unofficial team policy of not exceeding a three-year deal for a pitcher.

The Phils entered Friday with eight arbitration-eligible players, more than any other club. The signings of Hamels and Greg Dobbs (two years, $2.5 million) leave the Phils with six arbitration eligible players – Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Chad Durbin and Joe Blanton. Potential salary figures will be exchanged Tuesday.

There have been reports that Madson, the Phils’ eighth-inning setup man, turned down a three-year, $12 million offer. Sources say that Madson and the team could still reach a longterm deal.