July 25, 2012 / 5:13 PM / 5 years ago

Phillies sign ace Hamels to $144 million extension

(Reuters) - Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels signed a six-year, $144-million contract extension that ends the prospect of losing the All-Star left-hander to free agency, the Major League Baseball team said on Wednesday.

The deal for Hamels, who was widely expected to have been the most sought after free agent after the 2012 season, includes a club/vesting option for 2019 and a limited no-trade provision, the team said in a statement.

Hamels, 28, is a three-times All-Star who was named the Most Valuable Player of the National League Championship Series and the World Series when the Phillies triumphed in 2008.

He has been the top pitcher on Philadelphia’s rotation this season, leading all his counterparts with an 11-4 record, 3.23 earned run average (ERA) and 131 strikeouts for a Phillies team that is in last place in the National League East division.

Since making his major league debut in 2006, the Phillies’ first-round draft pick from 2002 leads National League pitchers with 85 wins and ranks third in innings pitched (1,295) and starts (199). He owns a career record of 85-58 with a 3.38 ERA.

Hamels also has the second most strikeouts (1,222) among all major league left-handed pitchers over the last seven seasons, with only six-times All-Star CC Sabathia (1,373) of the New York Yankees having more.

Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Frank Pingue

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