With the trade deadline coming at the end of July, the Phillies are reportedly interested in a reunion with former pitcher Cole Hamels.
With a 45-37 record heading into Tuesday night’s game with the Orioles, the Phillies have shown they are legitimate playoff contenders halfway into the season. They hold the second NL wild-card spot and sit 3.5 games back of the division lead. The club survived a rough June schedule and now are in good position for the rest of the season.
As most playoff-contending teams are, Philadelphia is rumored to be in the market to upgrade the team prior to the trade deadline at the end of July. It is the first time they have been buyers instead of sellers since 2011.
One potential need could be starting pitching, and as always, there are several options rumored to be available on the market. Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reported that a trade to bring back a fan favorite could happen:
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Hamels is one of the top starters that will potentially be available this year. The 34-year-old is in the last guaranteed year of the extension he signed with Philadelphia back in 2012. There is a $20 million team option which vests automatically only if he can accumulate 150 more innings this season -which is highly unlikely – and not end the year on the disabled list. For all intents and purposes, Hamels would be a one-year rental, making him a cheap option.
If Hamels does return to Philadelphia, he most likely won’t be the same pitcher he was when he was traded to the Rangers in 2015. He has a 4.05 ERA, 5.00 fielding-independent pitching, and 0.4 wins above replacement this season.
Home runs have been his bane this year as he is tied for the second-most allowed this season (20). His 20.6 percent home run to fly ball ratio is the highest of all qualified pitchers.
Even though Hamels hasn’t pitched very well this year, he remains an attractive option, especially to his former team. What could make him even more attractive is potentially being traded alongside third baseman Adrian Beltre. The position is definitely one of need and Beltre would be another rental piece. Swinging a deal for Beltre would be a bit harder as he reportedly wants to stay in Texas.
Obviously, trading for Hamels would have the full support of the fans, even if he isn’t quite as effective now as he was in his prime. Even when he was traded three years ago, there was a chance he would return as the team geared up for a playoff push. They are now right in the hunt for the playoffs, and Hamels could become a part of it.