The Hamels Decision

As we waited in the Phillies clubhouse for Cole Hamels following last night’s 4-1 victory over Washington, a reporter sidled up to me and asked a relevant question:

“So is it cha-ching or ca-ching?”

“I always go with cha-ching,” I told him.

Hamels threw eight scoreless innings against the Nationals to improve to 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA. He is tied for the big-league lead in wins. He is fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.08), ninth in ERA and 11th in WHIP (1.01).

From 2010-12, he ranks sixth in ERA (2.83), seventh in WHIP (1.07) and fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.99).

He is just 28 years old, too.

Cha-ching!

(Buster Olney talks more about Hamels’ score in his column today.)

There are 133 days remaining in the 2012 regular season. The Phillies are hoping to be preparing for the National League Division Series at that point, but the reality is they are 22-23 and last in the National League East. Ryan Howard is rehabbing in Florida, but there are no indications he is close to beginning a rehab assignment. Chase Utley takes ground balls with the Phillies occassionally. He claims he is making progress, but you have to wonder (he didn’t seem particularly mobile the other day). Roy Halladay hasn’t looked like himself. Cliff Lee is winless. Jimmy Rollins‘ .578 OPS is 20th out of 25 big-league shortstops. Hunter Pence is in his head, struggling in clutch situations. The bullpen has pitched better recently, but remains a question mark. Charlie Manuel‘s lineup this week included Hector Luna (opened season in Triple-A) and Mike Fontenot (released by San Francisco before opening season in Lehigh Valley).

And those are just a few of the issues facing the Phillies right now.

(Ken Rosenthal offered his take on the Phillies today.)

If the Phillies continue at this pace, you have to wonder how they will handle Hamels’ impending free agency.

They are no closer to a deal than they were during spring training. I’ve got to think the Dodgers are going to make a huge splash in the offseason, and there’s no better way to do that than by signing one of the best pitchers in baseball — no matter the cost. Brad Lidge told Jon Heyman this week he thinks the Phillies will have to ante up for Hamels. I tend to agree. I think if Hamels hits the open market and the Dodgers (or somebody else) blow away the Phillies’ offer he leaves.

So if you’re the Phillies, it’s July 24 and you’re two under .500 (or even if you’re a game or two over .500), what do you do? If the front office has a good feeling they won’t be able to hit Hamels’ magic number they might owe it to themselves to trade him and retool for 2013. They need to get some sure-fire, big-league ready prospects, a player or two that can help them next season. By trading Hamels you at least get something in return for him (draft picks as compensation doesn’t help Halladay, Lee and others win next year).

It also doesn’t preclude you from still trying to resign Hamels in the offseason, either.

Of course, this only happens if the Phillies feel they are not contenders. The second wild card team muddies this picture consideribly. Right now the Phillies are only 4 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East and only 3 behind the Reds for the second wild card spot. It would be hard to pull the plug in July if they were only 3 back. But it wouldn’t be so hard if Howard and Utley weren’t back or the team just looked too inconsistent to make a run in September and October.

Lots of things to think about with Hamels. How confident are they about resigning him? Would they rather sink their money in another ace or more offense? Where does the team have to be in the standings before they seriously consider trading him? It would be a tough pill to swallow, but if the reality is this isn’t the Phillies’ year they have to accept that and move on.

*

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18 Comments

Check your spelling on ‘big-leage’..
As for Hamels, he is long gone from this baseball team. What a shame..

We stink. Boo!

Got to also think 2013 – Yes the team is “older” but would signing Hamels put the team in a better position next year (lets assume everyone’s healthy – yes, I know thats tough) when they still have Roy, Lee, RyNo, Chase, Ruiz, etc… Trade Hamels and you’re probably getting some AAA guys that will be productive in 2-3 years from now when those big guns are all gone or no longer productive. Its all gambling..

I have no idea why some phans think that Chase will be 100% whne he comes back or 100% next year, if he misses this year. He had one knee that threatened his career. Now he has TWO. He will never play without pain in his knees again. He is trying to find a way to move his body in suc a way as to minimizes those pains and be able to do what he needs to athletically to be an asset to the team, not a liability. Personally, I think his days of being a star are over…

We don’t have Howard and Chase this year … but we will next year. Everyone will be healthy next year, so what would be the stronger club? A Phillies team with everyone back and hopefully healed up and with Cole or a Phillies team with everyone back and healed up with some minor league pieces? The Phillies have been making moves for the short term and trying to win in a 2-3 year window, letting Hamels slide doesn’t seem to fit that already established mindset.

Nice to assume “everyone will be healthy next year” when this team has a history of injuries to its key players. You could look it up. Of all the things you can assume about this team, their health is the last thing you should take for granted.

I honestly don’t understand why everyone pins so much hope on Howard and Utley returning at top form. Seems to me that their ability to play when they return is a HUGE question mark. How in the world can you say “everyone will be healthy next year”? That’s far from a certainty! We all thought Utley would be in “good health” this year!

I agree about Chase never being the same again, never being able to utilize that beautiful compact swing of his again. BUT Ryan should be able to come back and help the Phils this season sometime. I will never forgive the Phils trainers for allowing him to participate in baseball activities in March BEFORE his internal wound had completely healed. He might be playing in LV now if they hadn’t made that blunder. As it stands, they will wait for it to heal completely. THEN, Ryan will have to build up his strength and conditioning and then get into baseball playing shape and then get his timing back……… Most experts thought the would be back between the end of June and some time in July. Physically, Ryan’s re-attached achilles should be ready to do everything the original one did. This is NOT the same as Chase’s dilemma, although, it’s looking more like Ryan’s eagerness to get back will actually cost him a month or longer more of MLB playing time…. INCREDIBLE!

Todd, help me out please.

I keep hearing on Philly radio and Philly hoofs how it will be impossible to re-sign Cole Hamels because of lack of money primarily.

I just don’t buy that premise. Everyone knows The Phillies are soon to own their own network ala the Yankees. With this “Phillies Network” coming into fruition doesn’t that enlarge their “salary cap” enabling them to say sign Cole to a 7 year deal as well as sign a bug bat or two??

Utley is done as a great player, or maybe even an above-average player. That kind of injury is not one that “gets better”. Howard was only slightly above average other than the year before that huge contract. No reason to think he will be any better either. He is a threat for a big hit at any time, but he strikes out too frequently, which makes him less scary to opposing pitching staffs, especially if no one else is on base. Without better 1-3 hitters, this team is not a serious WS contender. They are a much better WS contender with 2 aces and a much better lineup than they are with 3 aces and a mediocre lineup.

Steve, I don’t know what you think is important for a hitter to do. I look at runs scored and RBIs, because in my amateur opinion, scoring more runs is better tha scoring fewer; getting more RBIs is better than getting fewer. So I’ll take Ryan’s 140+ RBIs with almost 200 strike outs a season any time. And to say that pitchers don’t fear pitching to him is just plain ignorant…..

So……….is tonight the Cliff Lee gem that ends as a 1-0 loss?

Nope.

I still can’t believe that the Phils sold Podsednik to the Redsox…… I’d still rather have him in the outfield than Pierre, as well as he has been hitting in a Phillie uniform. It just seems that his OBP is artificially high, because he invariably makes bonehead outs on the basepaths that don’t show up in the OBP stats, like recently being doubled up on Pence’s routine flyout to rightfield. plus-minus-zero….. Podsednik has already started producing for the Redsox. I’ll be rooting for him, except when the Redsox play against the Phils.

Oh no! How could they sell an extra man to another team? God forbid. Podsednik has played exactly THREE GAMES for the Red Sox. How can “it seem” that his OBP Is high? Either it is or it isn’t. Go ahead and root for Podsednik, it won’t make any difference. What does it matter who you root for?

This post comes from the guy who said the Phils will never be able to “leap frog” four teams ahead of them to win the division. Your credibility is suspect at this time muleman. lol

I seem to remember that Pat Gillick’sformula was not to pay starters the big money. He preferred to use young inexpensive starters and use the money for the best eight regulars he could get. Pay also proven relief pitchers to close out games. The Phil’s are now paying Lee and Halladay well over fifty million for next year. Hamels will get at least twenty seven million. Starters are one pitch away from a shoulder or elbow injury.

Pitching is deep all around for a lot less money. We don’t need 3 starters getting more than some teams entire payroll. See if there are any takers for any of the high priced players. They aren’t deep in position players in the minors but do have a kid in Reading that has hit over .300 in 5 levels and a good defensive player. I don’t plan on Utley but Ryan is possible to help out this year. If they can hang on to 5 or 6 games out they can still come on.

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