In their search for pitching, the Phillies are going to be looking at a familiar face to possibly bring in.
On Friday, the Phillies will be one of a number of teams in attendance of a showcase put on by the 2008 World Series MVP, Cole Hamels. Hamels signed a one-year, $18 million contract with Atlanta last year, but turned out to be a bust. He was only able to pitch 3.1 innings prior to suffering a shoulder injury that kept him out all season.
This news made Phillies fans rather excited about the prospect of adding Hamels to the squad. A fan favorite during his time here, some fans are clamoring to bring him back. While my love for Hamels is there, he is 37 years old. He would be a very interesting addition to the team, but a bonafide gamechanger? Probably not.
In his last full season in 2019, Hamels went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA over 141.2 innings pitched. He performed well for the Cubs down the stretch, with a 2.36 ERA over 12 starts. However, almost two years removed from that performance with a shoulder injury in between, expecting that kind of run from him is crazy.
Nonetheless, the Phillies are interested in him, and should be. Now, I am bias due to his previous Phillies stint, but I would rather see Hamels on this team than Matt Moore or Chase Anderson. Signing for $3 million and $4 million, respectively, both pitchers have been bad all season. Moore has a 5.40 ERA through 31.2 innings with the team, starting four games. He is still in the rotation as of writing this, not something a prospective playoff team should have.
Anderson has been on rehab assignment in Lehigh Valley recently, but was just torched yesterday. In 3.2 innings for the Iron Pigs, he gave up four runs on six hits, including two homeruns, and two walks. His rehab innings have gone like the rest of his season, as he is sporting a 6.17 ERA in four starts.
I personally don’t see how Hamels could be any worse than either of them, but I also am not ready to just hand him a rotation spot. However, I am still advocating that Bailey Falter be starting games for the Phillies. Falter gives the Phillies a better chance of winning than either Anderson or Moore. Plus, Falter throws a lot more strikes than either Moore or Anderson. Untimely walks have come to bite the Phillies over the season, and both Moore and Anderson are culprits of that.
However, Falter is manning an important relief position as the longman/piggyback for the team at the moment. Moving him to the rotation would open up another spot in the bullpen.
This is where I see Hamels making the most sense for the Phillies.
I am fully aware that Hamels will probably want to start games, but he hasn’t pitched in the Majors in over a year. Signing him as a rotation piece in the middle of a playoff race right away doesn’t seem like a smart move for the Phillies. There is a lot of risk to that type of move. The Phillies need every win they can get, so it might be too risky early on.
If Hamels was to accept a bullpen role for anyone, you would think it would be for the Phillies. 114 of his wins came here, along with his only World Series title. The city of Philadelphia loves him, and I’m sure that love is reciprocated.
Not only that, but he and Falter share many similarities. Both are homegrown, California kids who happen to be lefthanded. Hamels coming in and mentoring Falter is an interesting idea, and one that I would love to see.
If Falter struggles, the Phillies would be able to flip the two and put Hamels in the rotation. Starting Hamels in the bullpen allows him to build up his arm strength. Hamels probably won’t be here next year, but Falter will be. In that case, Falter should get the first crack at the rotation over Hamels.
I am not sure how much longer Hamels has to pitch in his career. However, the chance to finish it in the Phillies’ pinstripes might be the perfect way to end it. Hamels being an important piece of getting the Phillies back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011 seems like the perfect storybook ending for him.
The nostalgia might be too much to pass up.
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