A Philadelphia Phillies legend who fans have been begging to see return to the city ever since his departure in the mid 2010s, it appears Cole Hamels has yet to rule out pitching this season. In fact, according to MLB insider Jon Heyman, the former World Series MVP has continued to throw off a mound, as if he’s gearing up for a return to action sooner rather than later:
Obviously, this is a player whom Dave Dombrowski and the Phillies should have a ton of interest in. Not only is he an icon in the city who would provide some much-needed leadership to the team’s clubhouse, but he also would give the Phils another stab at rounding out the back-end of their rotation.
They spent $7 million on the likes of Chase Anderson and Matt Moore this offseason, and neither of them lasted past May. Vince Velasquez has given the Phillies a few quality starts here and there, but his 5.28 FIP tells the story of someone who is always just moments away from disaster.
Spencer Howard looked better in his most recent outing against the LA Dodgers, but he’s still at the point in his major league career where he’s being limited to 60-65 pitches on any given day (he’s only made 10 career starts). Unless the team has plans of letting Howard push into the 80-90 pitch range on a frequent basis, you could make the argument that starting pitching is the Phillies greatest roster need – by a rather large margin.
Former Phillies legend Cole Hamels is still preparing as if he’s going to pitch this season.
While Hamels did essentially miss the entirety of the 2020 season due to a shoulder injury, he’s still less than two years removed from a rather strong 2019 campaign with the Chicago Cubs. He started 27 games that year and pithed 141.2 innings, going 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA. While he’s obviously not at the All-Star level that he used to be back with the Phillies and the Texas Rangers, a 3.81 ERA would still see him firmly planted as the Phillies #4 starter at the moment.
More from Section 215
- 4 Eagles on the Bubble Who Have Clinched Their 53-Man Roster Spots
- Best Pennsylvania Sportsbook Promos: Win $650 GUARANTEED Bonus PLUS $100 off NFL Sunday Ticket
- 3 Punters the Eagles Must Target to Replace Arryn Siposs
- Cowboys Trey Lance Trade Proves How Screwed They Are With Dak Prescott
- Devon Allen Took Britain Covey’s Job on Eagles
The need for pitching (and the romanticism of bringing Hamels home) aside for a second, the biggest thing to pay attention to when it comes to evaluating Hamels this summer is of course his health. While he’s never been one to rely on his velocity, the Phillies still don’t want to find themselves in a position where they spend a few million dollars on Cole, just for him to end up on the injured list.
Philadelphia needs someone reliable at the back-end of their rotation, someone that they can trust to navigate them through the dog days of July and August.
With Dombrowski pressed right up against the luxury tax (and John Middleton still showing an unwillingness to go over it), his next couple of moves have to be precise. Veteran free agent starter Anibal Sanchez was rumored to be a Phillies target a few weeks ago, but Dombrowski ultimately passed, likely due to the uncertainty surrounding Sanchez’ age/health – a similar situation that Hamels finds himself in.
Things will become more clear once/if Hamels has a showcase for interested teams. In the meantime, his status is nothing more than something worth keeping an eye on.