(CBS/AP) PHILADELPHIA - Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a $144 million, six-year contract that prevents the 2008 World Series MVP from becoming a free agent after the season, CBSSports.com has learned.
The deal includes a vesting option for a seventh year.
The Phillies plan an official announcement before Wednesday's game against Milwaukee. It's the largest contract signed by a Philadelphia athlete and second-highest for a pitcher.
Hamels' deal beats Johan Santana's $137.5-million six-year Mets deal, making it the second highest ever given a pitcher, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports. CC Sabathia's $161-million, seven-year Yankees deal is the record.
The deal was originally reported by FOXSports.com.
The 28-year-old Hamels becomes the third Phillies starter making $20 million per season, joining Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. A three-time All-Star, Hamels passed up an opportunity to possibly get more money on the open market to stay with the team that drafted him in 2002.
The lanky lefty is 11-4 with a 3.23 ERA this season. He's 85-58 with a 3.38 ERA in seven years in Philadelphia. Hamels has never won more than 15 games in a season, and his 2.79 ERA in 2011 was the only time he was under 3.06.
Hamels reached the majors in 2006 after battling injuries in the minors. He went 15-5 with a 3.39 ERA in his first full season in 2007, establishing himself as the team's ace and helping the Phillies win the first of five consecutive NL East titles.
He was the team's ace in `08 when he went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts. Hamels was MVP of the NLCS against Los Angeles and helped the Phillies beat Tampa Bay in five games for their second World Series title in franchise history.
Hamels struggled in 2009.
He was just 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA that year, and pitched poorly in the postseason as the Phillies tried for a repeat. Hamels was passed over for veteran Pedro Martinez to start Game 2 of the World Series at hostile Yankee Stadium. Hamels then blew a 3-0 lead in a pivotal loss in Game 3, and New York took the series in six games.
Following the additions of Halladay and Lee, Hamels went from ace to No. 3 starter. He began 2011 as the No. 4 starter behind Halladay, Lee and Roy Oswalt. There's no doubt that Hamels is the team's best pitcher this season and now richest, too. Halladay is 4-5 and Lee is 1-6.