Cole could collect Cy Young and a big contract

The Cy Young Award is sort of like the Holy Grail when it comes to in­di­vidu­al hon­ors for pitch­ers. 

It ba­sic­ally tells both cur­rent and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions that, for one sea­son at least, you were the most dom­in­ant pitch­er in your league. 

When you are in a start­ing ro­ta­tion that in­cludes the reign­ing Cy Young Award win­ner, a past Cy Young win­ner and a guy that is con­sist­ently in the Cy Young con­ver­sa­tion, though, it can be hard to get no­ticed. 

It prob­ably helps for Cole Hamels then that he’s the only one of the four that holds a World Series ring as well as a World Series MVP award to go along with it. 

Or maybe it’s that he is the ho­met­own boy that did good for a city starved for a cham­pi­on­ship. 

Or it could just be that he has been that good this sea­son that people simply could not ig­nore him. 

Com­ing in­to the sea­son the talk was about Roy Hal­laday and Cliff Lee, the two past award win­ners, lead­ing the Phil­lies on their quest for an­oth­er World Series ring. 

Sup­ple­men­ted by Hamels and Roy Os­walt, these starters were pur­por­ted to be un­stop­pable. 

Well, if the sea­son were to end right now it would be hard to ar­gue that Hamels has not done just as much for this team as Hal­laday or Lee. 

Just look at any of the lead­er boards for pitch­ing stat­ist­ics and you will find Hamels right near the top in most. 

In his start Sunday against the Seattle Mar­iners, he picked up his 1000th ca­reer strikeout in the 2-0 loss. 

He is the third-fast­est act­ive pitch­er in all of base­ball to that mark, be­hind San Fran­cisco’s Tim Lincecum and Seattle’s Fe­lix Hernan­dez. 

Both of them already have won the Cy Young. 

Hamels has done all of this in a city where ath­letes are no­tori­ously run out of town when they do not per­form well. 

He ar­gu­ably could be the most loved of the three simply for the fact that we got to watch him grow from the start. 

We got to see him hurl us to our first cham­pi­on­ship in 28 years back in 2008. 

We got to see him stumble and fight his way through a sub­par 2009 sea­son, most likely be­cause of his lack of pre­par­a­tion after that 2008 cam­paign coupled with the ban­quet tour he went on fol­low­ing the World Series. 

But most im­port­ant we were privy to his Rocky-style re­bound from po­ten­tial trade can­did­ate to in­dis­pens­ible cog in this ro­ta­tion. 

Hamels’ ca­reer could be at a cross­roads come the end of the sea­son, however. 

He is due for a new con­tract, with his cur­rent deal run­ning out at the end of this sea­son. 

A lot of people think the Phil­lies are tapped out after the big money deals they used to sign Hal­laday and Lee. 

I get the sense that they would not and can­not let Hamels walk away after all that he has done here. 

I also get the sense that both the Hal­laday and Lee moves were done with the as­sump­tion that Hamels would be here long-term as well. 

Wheth­er he is hav­ing a stel­lar sea­son be­cause he sees dol­lar signs at the end of it or wheth­er he is do­ing it be­cause he wants an­oth­er cham­pi­on­ship re­mains to be seen. 

If he does, in fact, cap off this sea­son with an­oth­er World Series ring, then the like­li­hood of an­oth­er big money suit­or steal­ing him away from us grows ex­po­nen­tially. 

Either way, the lefties’ as­cen­sion in the ranks of Phil­lies starters is be­ing so­lid­i­fied in front of your eyes. ••

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