The Chicago Cubs are looking to make some big moves in free agency this offseason. One of those moves is adding a big name to their rotation, and Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies might be the one player they’ve been coveting the most.
The Cubs actually claimed Hamels off of the revocable waivers back in August before the Phillies pulled him back following trade talks that didn’t last for very long. They couldn’t come to that agreement in a three-day window, but having the offseason to work things out might make it a lot easier to come to an agreement.
The Cubs, with a 73-89 record, finished in the bottom half of both leagues when it came to integral pitching numbers: 21st in ERA, 24th in quality starts, 19th in WHIP and 19th in allowed batting average. Their best pitcher was Jake Arrieta, going 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA, their only double-digit winner on the pitching staff. They also dealt Jeff Samardzija and Jake Hammels to the Oakland Athletics, making their starting rotation in need of some outside quality.
Hamels went 9-9 last season, but that was happening on a Phillies team in dire need of rebuilding and going in a new direction. His ERA of 2.46 was the best of his career while allowing a career best 0.6 home runs per nine innings.
While there are free agency pitchers that might end up being cheaper (Hamels costs $90 million for the next four season and there’s a $20 million team option on the 2019 season), the Phillies won’t ask for much just so they can get rid of Hamels’ contract. He might also be better than at least one of the free agency options everyone will be going after: Max Scherzer, James Shields and Jon Lester. The Cubs will go aggressively after them as well.
Hamels will be 31 when next season begins, and has posted a 108-83 record over his nine-year career with a 3.27 ERA. He’s a three-time All-Star that was also the MVP of the 2008 NLCS and World Series, helping the Phillies to the title.