Chicago Cubs: The rotation with Cole Hamels and what it means

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Recently acquired left-hander Cole Hamels makes his Chicago Cubs debut this week. What does the team’s rotation look with the veteran in the mix?

Due to the inconsistent performance of the Chicago Cubs rotation thus far in 2018, the front office went out and acquired veteran lefty Cole Hamels from the Texas Rangers. Now, he may not be the guy he once was, but there’s still a lot to like if you’re a Cubs fan.

Hamels has arguably been one of the most consistent pitchers over his first 13 big league seasons. He is 152-111 with a very respectable 3.43 ERA. He is best known for his time with the Philadelphia Phillies. In 10 seasons with the Phillies, Hamels went 114-90 with a sparkling 3.10 ERA. Of course, that includes a 2010 World Series MVP award.

However, Hamels has struggled thus far in 2018, pitching to a lackluster 5-9 record with a somewhat high 4.72 ERA in 20 starts. That might be off-putting, but he has pitched extraordinarily well away from Globe Life Park in Arlington, giving cause for at least some hope with a move to the North Side.

What does Hamels bring to Chicago

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Hamels provides depth, another veteran in a still reasonably young clubhouse, and most importantly he is an insurance policy to what has been an inconsistent starting rotation thus far in 2018.

When the season started, the Cubs were, in theory, set to ride a loaded rotation to October. That simply hasn’t played out as we’d all hoped. Yu Darvish has not taken the ball in two-plus months. Tyler Chatwood has been erratic and unreliable and Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana have experienced a lot of ups and downs.

Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon has already announced that Chatwood will be sent to the bullpen to make room for Hamels in the rotation. This move also means that Mike Montgomery will remain in the rotation – at least for the time being.

It is a little odd but with the addition of Hamels and with the news that Montgomery will remain the rotation those two along with Jon Lester means that the Cubs now have three lefties in their starting rotation.

Even though it may seem a little unorthodox, it is the right decision. Face it: Chatwood hasn’t been right all season. He can’t consistently throw the ball where he wants, and he has made watching his starts painful.

On the other hand, Montgomery has been excellent in the rotation and has earned the right to remain in there.

Remember, he is still considered to be a placeholder for Yu Darvish who is still rehabbing his injured right shoulder. There remains no timetable for his return, so Montgomery might play a much more significant role than initially thought.

What does it mean

The Cubs needed a starter, and they got their man, but the biggest key for the Cubs’ rotation remains consistency. If Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana can pitch to the quality they are capable of the Cubs will be in great shape.

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The fact of the matter remains, Cole Hamels will help, but it takes a team of 25 to win a World Series.