Cole Hamels recently talked about the possibility of returning to Philadelphia at some point in his career and hopefully the Phillies were paying attention.
Since being traded to the Texas Rangers in July of 2015 as part of a blockbuster deal, pitcher Cole Hamels has never really left Philadelphia.
Hamels and his wife Heidi still regularly come back to the area for various charitable reasons and their four children are being raised in Philadelphia. Despite a sometimes prickly relationship with Philadelphia fans and the media, Hamels eventually became beloved by the city and has long said he considers it home.
And if the Philadelphia Phillies are smart, they would seriously consider making it Hamels’ home once again.
In November of last year, Hamels appeared on SportsRadio 94WYIP and was asked about the possibility of returning to the Phillies at some point in his career. Hamels sounded like he would have zero problem coming back and being part of the rebuild.
At the time, many Phillies fans thought it was just talk with no real possibility of happening. Hamels has one guaranteed year left on his contract that will pay him $22.5 million in 2018 with the following year being a club option. With the Phillies rebuild where it was, no one though the organization would be willing to spend that kind of cash.
But that was before the Phillies signed Carlos Santana to a three-year, $60 million deal.
Quite suddenly and unexpectedly, the Phillies rebuild went to another level that showed they were willing to spend money. Lots of money.
Now, trading for Hamels to shore up their starting pitching probably won’t happen this offseason. The Rangers have a decent team that could very easily make the postseason. However, if Texas is not playing well come July and are out of contention, they might be very willing to get rid of that contract and trade Hamels.
And if that’s the case, bringing him back to Philadelphia would make a ton of sense.
It should be noted that Hamels is not the pitcher he once was. Last season he went 11-6 with an ERA of 4.20 and only threw 105 strikeouts in 24 games, which was by far the lowest total of his career. By and large he is not the ace he once once, but could still be a key part of any starting pitching rotation.
Which is exactly what the Phillies need.
With the rebuild taking on a new urgency, bringing back Hamels would solve a lot of problems and give the Phillies a second reliable starting pitcher alongside Aaron Nola. Because while the rest of the starters are good, none are of the caliber where they would be apart of a team that plans to make the playoffs. That’s just the simple truth. It might change at some point, but it doesn’t seem likely.
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The Phillies would have to wait until July to try and make a deal to get Hamels, but no one figured the Phillies were going to competitive in 2018 anyway. Most are eyeing 2019 as the year the Phillies make their move and return to the postseason.
It sure would be great to see Cole Hamels be a part of that.