Chicago Cubs: Cole Hamels deserved to go out with one last gem

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

We don’t know what the future holds, but there’s a very real chance that we’ve seen the last of Cole Hamels in a Chicago Cubs uniform.

Since returning from a mid-season oblique injury, Cole Hamels has hardly looked like the guy who anchored the Chicago Cubs rotation for the better part of a year. But looking to play spoiler to the rival St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, he had it all working – a fitting end to his time on the North Side.

Working on a soft innings limit given his ailing shoulder, Hamels turned in four shutout frames, striking out eight – and showcasing a fiery demeanor on the bump. After a pitch ran in on St. Louis backstop Yadier Molina, the Cardinals’ elder statesman jawed at Hamels – who was immediately ready to go.

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For a guy who’s known for his calm and collected demeanor when he pitches, I personally loved seeing that side of Hamels. Especially because Molina was acting like a clown – there was no chance that pitch was even remotely intentional and everyone watching the game knew as much.

Hamels had just one thing on his mind, though: proving he was healthy – and that his second-half performance was an outlier in what has otherwise been a remarkably consistent time with Chicago.

"“Trust me, I know I’m healthy. I feel amazing,” Hamels said. “But, this is my first time going into free agency. I don’t want to put that in the back of teams’ heads of how I finished. I think I’m capable of what I was able to do in the first half. That’s who I am.”"

The veteran southpaw finishes the year with a respectable 3.91 earned run average – a number that was greatly inflated by his 6.39 mark since returning from the IL. Prior to that point, he pretty much did what he showed he was capable post-trade last summer – giving an inconsistent rotation a stabilizing factor.

Last offseason, Chicago turned some heads when they opted to pick up Hamels’ $20 million team option for the 2019 season. With Hamels headed to the open market this winter, it’s unimaginable the Cubs would pony up that kind of coin for the left-hander again, but on a smaller deal, the 35-year-old might return.

"“I enjoyed my time here, and I’d like to continue it,” Hamels said. “I do understand what they have to go through, construct, identify. But I would love to be a Cub. And I know, if it’s not the case, at least I left it out here.”"

Indeed you did, Cole.

Next. Trust that Theo will figure it out this winter. dark

If Saturday night was the last time Hamels toes the rubber as a member of the Chicago Cubs, it was a fitting end to a brief, albeit successful run. If not? Let’s hope we see more of this type of dominance from Hamels again in 2020.