Why Cole Hamels Needs to Be Traded (And Will Probably Want To Be, Anyway)
Driving home today I heard Jayson Stark on Mike Missanelli’s radio show and he listed several very disturbing facts about the Phillies. It’s hard to make the case that Hamels should stay on the team after hearing them, unless it’s a purely emotional one where you want to still be able to see one player in his prime when you go to a game, instead of several that have long since passed it and others that will never be good enough to really have a prime worth watching. Here you go:
- Since May 11th the only pitcher in all of baseball with a lower ERA is the great (and almost certain Hall of Famer) Clayton Kershaw.
- He’s made 22 starts in a row where he’s given up 3 runs or less (the second-longest streak in the live-ball era!), but has only 8 games in that stretch.
- He has a 2.47 ERA and has won only 9 games. Only one other pitcher has won fewer games than Hamels with an ERA of under 2.50, and that was in 1902.
So that about covers why Hamels might want to seek another team. But, wait, we can rebuild around Hamels as our ace, you might say. Well consider these other stats Stark threw out there regarding the ineptitude of the lineup (almost all of which will be back next year):
- A .241 team batting average, the worst since 1991.
- A .301 on-base percentage, the worst since 1971.
- A .364 slugging percentage, the worst since 1988.
- 124 home runs, the lowest total since 1992 (not counting strike-shortened seasons)
- 1270 strikeouts, the most since….ever!!
- They will end up scoring less than four runs per game for the second year in a row.
To compound matters, as was noted on the radio show, not only do the Phillies have to fix the lineup, they really don’t have much of a rotation either. As Missanelli exclaimed on air, “This is a total rebuild job!”. It’s so obvious, yet Ruben Amaro has yet to really admit that in public. Last winter, I was really leaning toward blowing up the team and rebuilding. When they got A.J. Burnett, I thought if they really were trying to make another run at it, then that was a good move (really wrong there!). But now it is so obvious that they can’t go on like this any more.
So that brings us to Hamels. Jayson Stark said the Phillies have done scouting and could definitely trade Hamels this winter. While other aces will be free agents, offering competition, Stark believes there are enough teams out there that need an ace that Hamels could find a new home. At some point, I will be giving my blueprint on how the Phillies can move forward. It includes trading Hamels. I thought they should have traded Lee last year, and now it is clear that’s what they should have done. I don’t want to see Hamels go, but it has to happen to prevent this team from being extremely bad for many years to come. If they can get a good return for Hamels (and let’s home Gillick and provide some oversight to Ruben), they will only be extremely bad for several years to come.