The Phillies’ Zack Wheeler signing comes just minutes after missing out on a reunion with Cole Hamels, who has signed a one-year deal with the Braves.
Despite the rumored mutual interest between the Philadelphia Phillies and free-agent LHP Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series Most Valuable Player will not reunite with his former team this offseason.
Instead, Hamels will sign with another National League East team, the Atlanta Braves. On Wednesday, the organization announced it has signed the soon-to-be 36-year-old to a one-year contract worth $18 million. Hamels’ contract does not contain any no-trade protection, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Just minutes after the Braves announced the signing, the Phillies reportedly signed right-handed starting pitcher Zack Wheeler to a five-year, $118 million contract.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Phillies made an initial offer to Hamels “and were just beginning talks.” However, when the Braves entered negotiations with Hamels, and hit the left-hander’s “goal, that decided things,” per Heyman.
More than 1,500 days have passed since the Phillies dealt Hamels (along with southpaw reliever Jake Diekman, who has recently signed with he Oakland Athletics) to the Texas Rangers in July 2015 in exchange for Jorge Alfaro, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, Matt Harrison, Jake Thompson and Nick Williams.
Hamels appeared in 13 postseason games in red pinstripes from 2007 to 2011. Since, the southpaw has appeared in a combined four such contests with the Texas Rangers (2015, 2016) and Chicago Cubs (2018), while the Phillies have appeared in none.
Hamels entered free agency coming off of a 2019 season in which he went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA and 1.391 WHIP over 27 starts with the Chicago Cubs. And, over the past four seasons combined with the Rangers and Cubs, the San Diego, California, native had gone 42-30 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.289 WHIP and 636-251 strikeout-to-walk ratio spanning 115 starts and 681 innings.
While not nearly his vintage self, in particular his 2011 season when he went 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA, Hamels could still have been an upgrade to the Phillies starting rotation; he is one of just three active pitchers with at least 14 straight seasons of 20 or more starts, joining Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke.
After signing Hamels, the Braves’ 40-man roster now stands at 38.