2008 NLCS and World Series MVP
Many of you have fond memories of Cole Hamels, during his career as a member of the Phillies. Perhaps the memory that is most familiar was his fantastic run in the 2008 playoffs. Hamels earned the MVP for both the National League Championship Series as well as the World Series. During the ’08 playoffs, Hamels went 4-0 with an ERA under 2.00 and was the main reason that the Phillies won the World Series that season. But now the question is, should the Phillies bring back Hamels via a trade?
— Zesty MLB Phillies (@zesty_phillies) May 15, 2018
Should the Phillies bring back Hamels?
This is a complicated question, my gut wants to say yes but the Phillies’ rotation is on a tear right now.
Phillies rotation MLB ranks, last 11 games:
1.16 ERA (1st)
0.95 WHIP (1st)
.254 OBP (1st)
30% K% (3rd)
— Ben Harris (@byBenHarris) May 18, 2018
These numbers are out of this world, and if we are being realistic, they are numbers that can’t be kept up. But it isn’t crazy to think that the rotation can continue to be effective. The way that the Phillies are swinging the bats, the rotation as a whole needs to have a 4.00 ERA. With the guys that the Phillies have, this is not unreasonable.
Odd man out
As of today, the Phillies’ rotation is Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, and Zack Eflin. This is already a different five guys then started the season. Eflin got a few starts because of injury and completely ran with the opportunity. In three starts this season, Eflin is 1-0 with a 1.56 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 17 innings.
Nick Pivetta is a guy who has shown a lot of promise throughout his young career. This season, in 9 starts, he is just 3-2 with a 3.72 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 46 innings. Pivetta’s last two starts have been his best of the season. He gave up just 1 run over 12 innings of work while striking out 18 batters.
These are two guys who I believe have pitched their way into the starting rotation. Whether the Phillies trade for Hamels or someone else, I would have a hard time seeing either of these guys getting sent to the bullpen. Although Eflin has pitched out of the pen during his career if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. This is exactly how Gabe Kapler should be treating his rotation unless these guys start to struggle they should be given the benefit of the doubt.
This leaves just Vince Velasquez as the odd man out. Velasquez is just 4-4 on the season with a 4.37 ERA. He has not pitched as well as Eflin or Pivetta recently, but he has shown signs of promise this year. Velasquez struck out 12 guys against San Fransisco a few starts ago.
Which pitchers are allowing hard-hit contact least often.
Among those in top 30
1. Justin Verlander
2. Jacob deGrom
3. Charlie Morton
7. Vince Velasquez
14. José Berríos
16. Shohei Ohtani
17. Kyle Freeland
25. Zack Wheeler
Click on image for the list pic.twitter.com/X5pTsPJeWl
— Sports Info Solutions (@SportsInfo_SIS) May 14, 2018
Like I said, Velasquez has shown signs of promise but will he be able to put it all together before the Phillies make a trade for someone?
The Phillies have one of the best records in baseball right now, so why do they need Hamels?
Phillies are 16-2 outside NL East.
Best record in ⚾️ outside division.
Phillies are 23-12 since first week of season, best record in NL since.
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) May 16, 2018
At the beginning of the season, no one expected the Phillies to be this good. When you look at the roster, even after signing Arrieta, not a lot jumps off of the page. But the Phillies have done an exceptional job of playing team baseball and not relying on the home run to win baseball games. When you combine the excellent start by the rotation with the play of the position players, this is what you get. A team that looks like it is ready to contend right now.
This leads me to ask the question again, should the Phillies bring back Hamels? Hamels is just 2-4 with a 3.48 ERA this season with 57 strikeouts in about 52 innings. Personally, I do not put a huge stock in a pitcher’s win-loss record, but I do think it means something. For Hamels, he plays for the Texas Rangers who are just terrible. They are not a good baseball team, so the 2-4 record is not too shocking. Hamels’ ERA is decent and is on par with his career ERA which sits at 3.37.
Before I sat down to write this article, I was not sure how I felt about the possibility of the Phillies bringing back Hamels. After looking at the numbers, I’m in on it. I believe Hamels would be a solid number three starter behind Nola and Arrieta. Not to mention the fact that it would be a dream come true to see him back in a Phillies uniform.
What would the trade look like?
The last part that we need to look at is the cost for the Phillies to bring back Hamels:
There’s an article that suggests the following trade:
PHI gets: Cole Hamels, Matt Bush
TEX gets: Victor Arano, Adonis Medina, J.D. Hammer, Arquimedes Gamboa
This trade is __________
— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) May 14, 2018
This seems a bit much to me. I am not sure we should be giving up Victor Arano AND J.D. Hammer, who is a pretty good prospect for the Phillies. However, Matt Bush may not be a terrible addition to the bullpen. Bush has closed games previously in his career and could provide the Phillies with an alternative to Hector Neris who has been struggling to say the least.
No matter what your answer is to the question: Should the Phillies bring back Hamels? There are definitely some good reasons for them too. I didn’t even mention the fact that the Phillies don’t have a left-handed starting pitcher in the rotation. To me, that will eventually pose a problem. If the Phillies bring back Hamels, this will solve that problem.
Statistics in this article are from mlb.com and baseballreference.com
Featured image via Flickr by WebbShots