Free agency rumors are swirling and the Philadelphia Phillies are focused on upgrading a number of areas, most notably their pitching rotation. The team is reportedly viewed as the “most potent” bidder for free agent hurler Zach Wheeler.
There’s also been a veteran starter that would make sense for the Phillies to reunite with in Cole Hamels, but the former World Series Most Valuable Player has reportedly found a new home with an NL East rival.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Atlanta Braves and Hamels have agreed to a one-year deal worth $18 million. The Phillies host the Braves for the first time during the 2020 season on May 4-6 at Citizens Bank Park. MLB Insider Jon Heyman reports that the Phillies had an initial offer out to Hamels, but things went quickly after the Braves stepped into the picture with their bid.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Phillies, White Sox and Giants were among other teams interested in Hamels, who was shooting for a one-year deal close to $20 million. Nightengale later notes that most teams bidding for Hamels weren’t offering more than $15 million.
Hamels, 36, is coming off of a season where he missed time due to an oblique strain. Still, he made 27 starts, posting a 3.81 ERA. Prior to getting hurt, Hamels was dealing for the Chicago Cubs. In 17 starts prior to the All-Star Break, the southpaw posted a 2.98 ERA to go along with a 1.204 WHIP.
With Hamels officially off the market now, it seems the Phillies will need to act quickly on the Zach Wheeler front. Many believe the Phils have to add 2-3 starting pitchers to add to a rotation that right now only includes Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta as locks. After the 2019 season, it will be hard to rely on one or more of Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta and/or Vince Velasquez.
Some other back-end options on the market include Wade Miley, Julio Teheran and Tanner Roark.