Though he hasn’t scheduled a showcase to throw for teams yet, Cole Hamels “continues to throw off a mound and is building up every day,” per Jon Heyman of Audacy Sports.
The Philadelphia Phillies icon seemingly plans to pitch in 2021, although there doesn’t appear to be any indication that he’s close to seriously considering offers from contending teams.
Now 37, Hamels pitched in just 3 1/3 innings in 2020 after signing a one-year/$18 million deal with the Atlanta Braves. Arm and shoulder injuries turned the pandemic-shortened season into pretty much a lost campaign for Hamels, so it makes sense for him to wait until later in the season to sign with a team and limit his workload this year. Biding his time also will allow the four-time All-Star to better evaluate what suitors could give him a chance to win his second World Series title.
Could the Phillies be a fit for Hamels, assuming he does indeed decide to pitch this season? It’s not impossible. Zack Wheeler leads the National League in innings pitched, with Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin both in the top 10. The Phillies – both with their mind on 2021 and the future – need to monitor the workload of all three a year after playing just 60 games. We also know that the Phillies, rather aggressively, are limiting the innings of Spencer Howard. So will they need to make at least one addition to the starting rotation this summer? Probably. Whether Hamels could provide back-end-of-the-rotation stability or not at this stage of his career is unclear.
We also don’t know how much the nostalgia of having won a World Series in 2008 with the Phillies will affect Hamels’ decision. He expressed a desire to return to the Phillies after the 2019 season, but instead signed with the division-rival Braves, who offered him double the money. They probably also had a more realistic path to contention.
The San Francisco Giants were reportedly interested in Hamels back in January, and currently have the best record in the National League. They could be among the contenders that offer a more intriguing landing spot than the Phillies this summer.
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