Could it really happen? Could Hollywood Hamels actually return to the City of Brotherly Love?
The 2008 World Series MVP hosted an open workout this past Friday for 20 MLB teams, including the Philadelphia Phillies. The 37 year old threw 60 pitches and averaged just over 88 MPH on his fastball, topping out at 90 MPH. Hamels started just one game with the Braves in 2020, after battling arm and shoulder issues for a majority of the season. But according to all reports, he looks in shape and fully healthy. Due to his extended absence, however, there will obviously need to be a build up period to get his arm at full strength. Hamels realistically is 4+ weeks away from being ready for game action, setting him up for a likely return in mid to late August.
Dave Dombrowski attended the recent workout and apparently was impressed with what he saw. “Cole threw the ball well the other day.” Dombrowski said. “He’s a guy that we’re interested in.”
Joe Girardi was asked about a potential reunion Friday and seemed to be completely on board as well. “If it was to happen, I hope it would be a huge addition. We’d want him to come in and go undefeated. I know he was a fierce competitor and that never leaves people.”
The big question, however, is what can we expect from the 16 year veteran if brought in? Before his 2020 debacle with the Braves, Cole put up some pretty impressive numbers for the Cubs in 2018 and 2019. In 39 total starts with Chicago, he put up a 3.30 ERA in 218 innings pitched with 217 Ks. Pretty damn impressive for a guy in his mid 30s. If healthy, it’s not completely absurd to think that Hamels could give the Phils similar production this season.
Another big factor would be the cost it would take for the Phillies to bring him in. Just over a year and a half ago, Hamels signed with the Braves for a one year $8 million deal. Between Cole’s injury last year and it already being more than halfway through the season, it’s unrealistic to see him being offered a deal more than a few million dollars. Regardless of what team pulls the trigger.
So if the Phillies are able to get it done, would a reunion with Hamels be worth it?
Short answer, why not? The Phillies 4 and 5 starters this year have been less than stellar, to say the least. The combination of Matt Moore, Vince Velasquez, and Chase Anderson have a combined 5.07 ERA in 151 innings pitched this season. A legit playoff team’s back end of the rotation simply can not have those types of numbers. How much worse could Cole Hamels actually be? What do the Phillies have to lose?
There are obvious concerns when it comes to the former Phillies ace. Can he remain healthy after not pitching for 300+ days? Have the nearly 2700 career innings on the arm finally caught up to him? What kind of consistency can you really expect after all this time off? Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing. Phillies fans simply have to trust that Dave Dombrowski and the scouts know what they’re doing. Easier said than done.
It’s been nearly a week since his workout, and there has yet to be any update regarding the veteran lefty. Whether the Phillies decide to bring in Hamels or just acquire someone at the trade deadline, they need to act fast. Yesterday the team placed starter Zach Eflin on the 10 day IL with forearm fatigue. With the starting rotation already as paper-thin as it is, the time to act is now.