Phillies News: Girardi Enthusiastic About Possible Hamels Reunion

Joe Girardi, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Joe Girardi, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Current Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi never overlapped with Cole Hamels during his tenure with the club, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t excited at the possibility of managing the franchise legend.

Despite apparently being unaware that the Phillies attended Hamels’ showcase in Texas on Friday, Girardi offered his opinion when asked. It turned out to be quite a ringing (the bell) endorsement, with the skipper calling Hamels “a huge addition” and “fierce competitor.”

The addition of Hamels would certainly bolster the team’s pitching. The Phillies have three starters who have already thrown over 100 innings apiece, including Zack Wheeler, who leads all of MLB in innings pitched. By comparison, the first-place New York Mets have none, and neither do the Atlanta Braves. Overworking Wheeler and the rest of the rotation is likely a serious concern for Girardi, especially if they truly want to contend. Hamels also looks like an appealing alternative to the struggles of Vince Velasquez and Chase Anderson.

The Phillies drafted Hamels 17th overall in the first round of the 2002 June Amateur Draft, and he made his debut in 2006. He spent the first 10 seasons of his career in red pinstripes, culminating in a 3.30 ERA over 295 games (all but one of them starts), and represented the team at three All-Star Games.

Hamels’ first full season with the club in 2007 kicked off a stretch of five straight division titles, and he was crucial to the Phillies winning their second World Series championship in franchise history.

On a personal level, Hamels has the third-most strikeouts and sixth-most wins and innings pitched of any pitcher in franchise history, and could build on that if he returned. He is only 28 strikeouts away from passing Robin Roberts on the all-time list, and 10 innings away from topping Curt Simmons.

Back in November 2019, Hamels said he’d “love the opportunity to come back,” but ultimately, signed a more lucrative one-year deal with their division rival Braves. Now that the Phillies have the potential to make a playoff push, a homecoming might be more appealing to Hamels than it was a year ago.

While Phillies fans are certainly hoping for some big upgrades at the trade deadline, a reunion with their former homegrown star would certainly be the storybook moment, especially if he can help them reach the postseason for the first time since his first stint with the team.

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