The Phils need to get a deal done with Hamels… NOW!!!

Posted on February 25, 2012


By Maurice Brewington

The first time I remember hearing the name Cole Hamels, ironically, was in relation to a bar brawl! Roughly two seasons into his professional career, a 21 year old Kid Cole broke his pitching hand outside a Clearwater taproom, while beating down some yokel who was giving the young ace a hard time earlier in the evening. The image contradicts the common depiction of Cole, as the laid back Southern California surfer dude who’d rather spend his time getting acupuncture treatments. But it should have served as a reminder that when it’s time to get dirty, Cole is more than willing to throw down.

Coming off the ’08 season, Kid Cole, should have been regarded as King Cole. World Series Champion, and MVP. Star of a staff comprised of Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, Brett Myers and Adam Eaton. Hamels almost single handedly broke the curse of Billy Penn, posting a 4-0 post season record with a 1.80 ERA.

Yet midway through the ’09 season, he was 7-5, with a 4.42 ERA, Myers was out, recovering from hip surgery, and Moyer was leading the team with 10 wins, despite giving up more than 5 runs per contest. Ruben Amaro, never one to sit on his hands, went and got another lefty  to help carry the load. And so the city’s love affair with Cliff Lee began.

The team posted a 93-69 record, with Lee taking over as the “new” ace, going 7-4 in twelve starts. Cole finished a meager 10-11, relinquishing 4.3 runs per contest. The record, however does not reflect that Hamels left  seven contest  with the lead, in which the bullpen promptly gave it back, robbing the lefty of potential wins. In the playoffs, Lee proved to be every bit the competitor Hamels was the year before, but the team fell short, losing the Series to the Yanks in 6.

In December ’09 Amaro did the unthinkable, trading the fan favorite Lee to Seattle for prospects while simultaneously acquiring the pitcher many regarded as the best in the game, Roy Halladay. Hamels at this point must feel completely overshadowed. Yet in 2010 he returned to form. A deceitful 12-11 record on the year obscured his dominance. The team let him down repeatedly, scoring a pathetic 3.64 runs per game during Hamels starts(20 on the season). Compare that to the 6.14 runs scored for Kyle Kendrick in his 19 starts and the picture becomes clearer.
2010 ended in disappointment  as well. Despite the mid-season addition of a third ace, Roy Oswalt. The Phils fell victim to their lack of timely hitting, and were eliminated by the Giants in the N.L.C.S. Leading Amaro to make another huge offseason splash, bringing Lee back into the fold, and heading into the 2011 campaign with arguably the most most feared rotation in recent baseball history.
The image of Ryan Howard collapsing on the first base line is still fresh enough in our collective memory that I should not have to relive the scene. But I will note that Hamels posted perhaps his best season as a pro in 2011, 14-9, with a 2.79 ERA, and 194 strikeouts in 31 starts.
He is 28 years young, and has never seemed stronger as an athlete. He seems to have overcome the fragility his his injury marred youth in the majors, and appears to have outgrown the complaining that led many to label him soft. As Lee,and Halladay will be in the twilight of their careers sooner rather than later, Kid Cole likely has another decade of dominant baseball in his left arm. And truthfully, his best days are probably ahead of him.
We know he will not come cheap. And we know there is a team about 109 to the north that would love to seem him change his pin stripes. As fans  believe we can have a voice in the outcome of this situation. If  you get a chance to make it to the Bank this season on a day when #35 is on the bump, let him hear it. The guy has heard his share of boos in the past, some more warranted than others. Yet he should know that we appreciate him every bit as much as we love Cliff and the Doc.
Second, go buy a #35 jersey. If a jersey is out of your price range, cop a t-shirt, maybe a bobble-head. To keep Hamels is going to require an investment of 5-6 years, at $20-25 Million dollars! The Phils are going to need the added revenue if we expect to lock up three pitchers at those type of numbers.
Oh, by the way, Victorino’s gonna need a new contract at years end also.
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