Now, former Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Cole Hamels is reportedly eager to return to baseball and is looking fantastic in workouts. With Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins emphasizing depth, mostly for pitchers, you can never have too many players who can add value. Guys who can get minor league deals can sometimes fine tune and become important contributors to your big league roster. One of the guys back in the mix looking for a deal is former Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels.
Hamels has not played in MLB since he pitched just 3.1 innings for Atlanta in the 2020 season. Hamels, a four-time All-Star, is back and looking to get reacquainted at the major league level. In his short stint in Chicago, he posted a 2.36 ERA in the second half of 2018, followed by a respectable 3.81 mark in 141.2 frames in 2019.
Although he looks great in training; teams will have to be wary of how much he is in the tank moving forward. Three years off is a long time to be away from baseball at the highest level; so how many innings will he be able to get through?
You don’t have to limit him to starting play duties. Entering his age-39 season, you can also envision him as a primary reliever, at least out of the bullpen. Especially when it comes to what he might be worth in the minor leagues, there’s almost no risk in signing him. Feasible ceiling for the Cubs as a reliever/coverage starter at best if needed and anything else is just a bonus.
Again, we’re three years removed from seeing Hamels in action, but against left-handed hitters; he has a .234/.301/.365 slash against him along with 201 earned runs across 572.1 IP, good for a 3.16 career ERA. Trying to squeeze some value here, it will be interesting to see if he can still put up similar numbers against lefties, because if so, it will be crucial to his path back to the MLB.
As it sits, the Cubs still only have one everyday lefty in the bullpen, Brandon Hughes. We know the Cubs are still shopping around to add a veteran piece to the back of their bullpen, but taking a flier on Hamels and being able to call him up could be another backup option the Cubs can use if needed. It goes without saying that if Hamels is taken, it will be a one-year deal. It will be interesting to see how his journey to the MLB continues to unfold.