The Best Options Ahead for Cole Hamels
Perennial All-Star and 15-year veteran Cole Hamels is a free agent yet again. After signing a seven-year contract with Philadelphia Phillies in 2013, they decided to trade him to the Texas Rangers, who were contending in 2015. As it was clear that the Rangers were not going to make the playoffs in 2018, they traded Hamels to the Chicago Cubs.
During the 2019 season, the lefty pitched 141 2/3 innings with an ERA of 3.81 and 143 strikeouts. While his days of being an All-Star-caliber pitcher may be behind him, Hamels has the experience of being a postseason contender. The former World Series MVP could make a great third or fourth pitcher in a contending rotation. Hamels, now 36 years old, has some great options ahead of him.
Since the 2018 trade deadline, Cole Hamels has played well for the Chicago Cubs. In 39 starts, he pitched 218 innings with an ERA of 3.30 and a WHIP of 1.289. After missing the playoffs in 2019, the Cubs are hoping to get back to the postseason in 2020. The 2020 rotation is Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Jon Lester, and Jose Quintana. Adding Hamels back would be a luxury for the Cubs. Ultimately, Hamels in a Cubs uniform has seemed like a great fit, so why fix what isn’t broken?
The 2019 Minnesota Twins proved themselves as offensive juggernauts. While they were breaking the team home run record in 2019, Minnesota’s pitching was not up to par. The Twins pitching staff was fifth in the American League in ERA with 4.18. Within their starting rotation, Jake Odorizzi had the lowest ERA — 3.51. As starters Michael Pineda and Martin Perez are free agents, there is room to improve.
Cole Hamels could be the veteran on the young rotation. The Twins spent $137 million on their 2019 roster but only have $97 million committed to their roster in 2020. Consequently, the Twins have some room in salary available if they want to sign Cole Hamels. Hamels would arguably be the best pitcher in the rotation — something that can help them build on the momentum of a 101 win season in 2019. As the team is in the hunt for a starting pitcher, Hamels seems to meet the demands the Twins are looking for.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers have won seven straight National League West titles but have not won a World Series in that stretch. With left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu as a free agent, acquiring the left-handed Cole Hamels could easily fill that void. Moreover, the Dodgers have a great rotation with Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, but Hamels understands what it takes to win a World Series.
While this team has won pennants in recent years, it’s fair that Dodgers fans expect a World Series in 2020, and anything less would be considered a failure. Consequently, Hamels is a Southern California native, so playing closer to home while playing on a World Series contender may appeal to the veteran.
After 10 years of playing in Philadelphia, this could be the time for Cole Hamels to make his triumphant return. Firstly, when he was traded out of Philadelphia in 2015, the team was in the midst of a rebuild. Now the Phillies are close to contention and in need of a starting pitcher, and who better than Cole Hamels? Secondly, the Phillies pitching staff had the 11th-best ERA in the National League in 2019 at 4.53. Among starting pitchers, Aaron Nola had the best ERA on the team with 3.87. Cole Hamels, by comparison, had an ERA of 3.30.
The Philadelphia Phillies team from 10 years ago is a lot different than today. Their rotation consisted of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels. Those four aces struck fear in the hearts of any batting order. Hamels returning to Philadelphia and joining a rotation with Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta could make one of the best top-three starters in baseball. If he were to sign with the Phillies, it would be the only team he has ever signed a contract with throughout his 14-year career. Ultimately, Cole Hamels will sign another contract with the Phillies — fans just hope it’s more than just a one day contract.
Wild Card Pick: Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals have been a team defined by their great starting rotation. It led them to their first World Series championship a few weeks ago. Now that starter Stephen Strasburg has decided to pursue free agency, there could be an opening in the Nationals rotation. Assuming Strasburg signs with another team, Hamels could make a great replacement in Washington.