PHILADELPHIA - As the Philadelphia Phillies wade into the offseason with an eye on starting pitching, one familiar name has reportedly emerged as a potential fit for the back end of the rotation.
According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, veteran left hander Cole Hamels is open to signing a one-year pact with a contending team and would relish a chance to return to Philadelphia.
“I know Philly is finally trying to make that push,” Hamels told Zolecki. "They’re building their roster. If I fit on their roster and their plans, I’d love the opportunity to come back."
Hamels served as the anchor of the Phillies rotation for nearly 10 seasons and played an integral role in Philadelphia's march to a World Series title in 2008. The Phillies dealt Hamels to the Texas Rangers in the midst of a losing season. Two and a half years later, the Rangers flipped Hamels to the Cubs.
This offseason marks Hamels first trek into free agency after the 8-year, $173M deal he signed with the Phillies in 2012 expired last season. Hamels, 35, is coming off an encouraging season with the Chicago Cubs that was blemished by a midseason oblique injury.
Zolecki notes that in 17 starts prior to straining his left oblique, Hamels went 6-3 with a 2.98 ERA. When he returned from the injury in August, Hamels posted a 5.79 ERA in 10 games. Hamels finished the season with a 3.81 ERA in 141.2 innings pitched.
Philadelphia starters in 2019 turned in pedestrian results in terms of ERA (4.64) and innings pitched (869.2), and finished towards the bottom of the league in K/9 (8.36) and WAR (7.6). Hamels could help provide some support to a Phillies staff that should have at least two spots up for grabs.