If the Philadelphia Phillies are going to have a reunion with Cole Hamels, they’re going to have to compete with more than a third of the league to land him.
Stark went on to add that there’s a few models that Hamels’ camp is looking at when trying to land his next deal. Model one is the one-year/$23 million deal that Josh Donaldson signed with the Atlanta Braves last offseason after an injury-riddled 2018. Donaldson had a major bounce-back and is in line for a lucrative multi-year deal this offseason. The second model is the two-year/$34 million deal that J.A. Happ signed with the Yankees last offseason that includes a vesting option for a third year, one that the Phillies seemingly weren’t willing to match. Stark says that the hope would be that Hamels could get more money over a two-year stretch than Happ. The final option, which seems the least likely from here, is a deal with less money annually, but three guaranteed seasons.
Hamels, who will turn 36 next month, went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA and 4.09 FIP in 27 starts that spanned 141.2 innings in 2019. Prior to a stint on the injured list with an oblique injury, Hamels was pitching like a front-line starter. He went 6-3 with a 2.98 ERA in the first-half of the 2019 season. That came after he posted a 2.36 ERA in 12 starts after being acquired by the Cubs in advance of the July 31 trade deadline in 2018.
The pitching-needy Phillies need more than just Hamels if they hope to reach the postseason for the first time since 2011. But, if he was the second-best pitcher they added this winter, that would seem to improve their starting rotation significantly.
Earlier this month, Hamels, who spent the first nine-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Phillies, expressed interest in returning to the team.
“I know Philly is finally trying to make that push,” Hamels said to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. “They’re building their roster. If I fit on their roster and their plans, I’d love the opportunity to come back. It’s probably more on their end, though, to reach out and see if I actually do fit in their plans. It would be difficult for me to say, ‘Hey, I want to play there, can you guys make it happen?’ But I’m always willing to play for that team and city and attempt to win a World Series. That’s where I am right now. I just want to have the opportunity to get to the postseason, just so that I can try to win.”
MLB Trade Rumors projects that Hamels will sign a two-year/$30 million deal this winter. Signing him wouldn’t require giving up draft compensation, because the Cubs didn’t extend a qualifying offer to Hamels.
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