Phillies legend Cole Hamels eyes Major League Baseball comeback in 2023.
The 2008 World Series MVP has not thrown in the majors since 2020, when he made one start with the Atlanta Braves that lasted just 3 1/3 innings. Injury woes have kept Hamels sidelined since. Hamels, 38, last pitched a full season in 2019 as a member of the Chicago Cubs. The former Phillies left-hander finished that season with a 3.81 ERA.
While a Hamels return may seem unlikely, some teams may take a flyer — considering he will come pretty cheap at a time when the starting pitching market is inflated.
Ironically, Justin Verlander — who just signed a lucrative deal with the New York Mets — is 39 years old. Despite coming off Tommy John surgery in 2020, Verlander won the American League Cy Young Award this past season. Hamels likely would not return after a two-year hiatus and put up Verlander numbers, but he could be a low-risk signing for a team that needs starting depth.
Hamels last pitched for the Phillies in 2015, throwing a no-hitter in his final start before being traded to the Texas Rangers. Hamels had a successful career in Philadelphia. He was a three-time All-Star and helped the Phillies capture their second-ever and most recent World Series championship.
Would a Hamels reunion with the Phillies make sense in 2023? Anything could happen. He likely would not be a difference-maker, as his arm strength and innings would be limited. The left-hander would be affordable on a one-year deal, however, and could potentially eat some innings in the event of an injury.
It would be nice to see Hamels go out on his terms and get the chance to pitch in Major League Baseball again.