Cole Hamels is a homegrown talent, who won the World Series MVP in 2008 and forever deserves to have the love of Phillies fans for doing so. I get that. But that was 2008 guys. Is Ryan Howard still getting love for being a member of the 2008 World Series team when he struggles? Guessing by the boos last night I’m going to say that’s a no. Hell does Chad Durbin still get a pass for being a member of the 2008 World Series team? That one is a rhetorical question. And I’m not saying that Cole hasn’t been a really good pitcher since 2008,with the exception of 2009, but he is getting paid 24 million a season now. The Phillies aren’t paying Cole to just be really good anymore, they are paying him to compete for Cy Youngs. And I’m sorry if I’m the one who needs to be the bad guy and point this out, but 1-9 with a 4.86 ERA isn’t even remotely in the zip code of competing for Cy Youngs, and this contract proving already to be just another one of Ruben Amaro’s gifts that keep on giving.
I’ll be the first to say, as much as I do like Cole, the idea of giving him over 20 million dollars a year always scared me. He always struggled to go deep into games because he threw too many pitches, had one top five Cy Young finish in his career, and the Phillies had too many holes in their lineup to give one player with enormous trade value a 20 million dollar a season deal. I was one of the few people in Philly who said, Ruben needs to trade Cole because that’s the move that is best for the team. And people told me, “he’s homegrown, a lefty, and still young, you can’t trade him.” Can I ask a realistic question right now? I’ll take that as a yes. Does any of that matter when you are talking about a 140 million plus contract? Isn’t it cut and dry, either you are good enough for 24 million a season or you aren’t? I understand that being under 30 is a positive, but Cole Hamels had one year in his career where he posted an ERA under 3.00 coming into last season, and he posted one slightly over 3.00 last year. And not that, that’s bad but when I think of 24 million a season, I’m thinking of Roy Halladay 2010 type production. And not to mention Hamels had a high trade value, that could have landed the Phillies a long-term third-baseman, bullpen help, or an outfielder who would have produced better than Ben Revere or Delmon Young. Regardless instead of trading Hamels, Ruben Amaro went against my advice and signed Cole Hamels to a monster six-year 144 million dollar deal. So I’m not going to hold onto the fact that the Phillies shouldn’t have given Cole that deal, rather I’m going to begin to judge Cole on the scale of being a 24 million dollar a year pitcher.
And Cole Hamels didn’t exactly light it up down the stretch last year. But that was after a Phillies mini fire-sale where they were never seriously competing for the playoffs. But in 2013, how has Cole come back? Still only going six innings in many starts because of high pitch counts, and not pitching well in the six innings he is in the game. I’m personally not a fan of booing players that have accomplished great things for Philly. But in Philly we have booed Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins, who have both won MVP’s in a Phils uniform, so at this point why are the same fans giving Cole Hamels a pass? Why is the media not killing Cole? He is 1-9 with a 4.86 ERA. He is making 24 million. With that production, it’s hard to make a case that Ryan Howard is under-performing his contract anymore than Cole Hamels is.
Do I think Cole will turn it around? Yeah, I do. I sure as hell hope so, given that he has five-years 120 million left on his deal after this season. And hen he does, I will be the first one to commend Cole, and put him back on the pedestal as one of the games better arms. Does that make me hypocritical? I guess that is all in the eyes of the beholder, but to me the more hypocritical thing is thrashing Ryan Howard every time he strikes out, but when Cole gets lit up by the Brewers just kind of sitting back and saying he will turn it around, no need to kill him now.