Cole Hamels can now put his wallet up against those other aces on the Phillies’ staff.

The ace left-hander avoided arbitration yesterday, signing a one-year contract worth $15 million. The deal includes incentive clauses for Cy Young, MVP and postseason awards, per CBSSports.com. It’s the largest salary for an arbitration-eligible pitcher before being eligible for free agency.

Hamels just finished a three-year, $20.5 million deal. He went 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA in 2011 and made his second career All-Star appearance.

Hamels is a free agent after the 2012 season. While the Phillies and Hamels continue to negotiate, the one-year deal is an indication that the two sides aren’t that close.

 

“We’re happy we’ve concluded the one-year portion of this,” Hamels’ agent, John Boggs, told ESPN.com. “And at the appropriate time, I’m sure we’ll have dialogue with the Phillies and continue talking about a multiyear deal.”

The Phillies also avoided arbitration with utility player Wilson Valdez. The 33-year-old will make $930,000 — up from $560,000 — in 2012.

What about Hunter?

The Phillies have one remaining arbitration-eligible player: Hunter Pence.

The sides have a hearing scheduled in Febru­ary. Pence filed for $11.8 million, while the Phillies put it at $9 million.

Pence would like to remain in red pinstripes.

“I haven’t heard anything about an extension,” Pence told 94 WIP yesterday. “I’m pretty confident we’re going to be working on a deal for this year. I’d love to be in Philly. I absolutely enjoy every moment with the organization, the fans, the city.”

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