Chicago Cubs: Cole Hamels seems ready to go home to Philadelphia

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Don’t be surprised if Cole Hamels returns to the Philadelphia Phillies after finishing his year-plus in the middle of the Chicago Cubs rotation.

Remember the last time Cole Hamels pitched as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The left-hander no-hit the Chicago Cubs, becoming the first pitcher to do so since Sandy Koufax in 1965.

"“Nothing will top winning a World Series, but this is right under it,” Hamels told after the historic performance."

Now, it looks like the southpaw could be ready to return to his roots in free agency.

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According to Jon Morosi, the Phillies aren’t focused on the likes of Anthony Rendon or Gerrit Cole. That makes sense given the spending spree the team went on last year which, of course, ended with Bryce Harper signing the largest free agent deal in history.

Instead, Philadelphia seems focused on that next tier of free agents, namely three arms: Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler and you guessed it – Hamels.

With Wheeler projected to earn a nine-figure deal this offseason, I’d put him as the least likely of the three to sign with the club. Bumgarner and Hamels make more sense financially – and the latter’s ties to the organization will undoubtedly play a role in the weeks and months to come.

Philadelphia selected Hamels in the first round of the 2002 MLB Draft and he made his big league debut four years later. He spent the next decade as an anchor of the team’s starting rotation, epitomizing consistency and effectiveness annually. Over that span, he worked to a sterling 3.30 ERA over nearly 2,000 innings – leading the team to a World Series title in 2008, winning MVP honors in the series.

Ahead of the trade deadline in 2015, the Phillies shipped Hamels to Texas in a deal that brought young talent back to Citizens Bank Park in return. Then, three years later, the Rangers sent a struggling Hamels to the Cubs, in a move that hardly looked like a true difference maker for Chicago – at least at face value.

But down the stretch in 2018, Hamels proved invaluable to the club, putting up a 2.36 ERA in a dozen starts, helping Chicago reach the postseason for the fourth consecutive year. Prior to a midseason injury in 2019, it was more of the same for the veteran.

The gritty hurler wasn’t the same after he returned from that injury – but his impact cannot be overstated in his short time with the team. This was a marriage where both sides got what they wanted – the Cubs got a quality presence in the rotation and Hamels showed he still has gas in the tank.

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If Philadelphia can bring back Hamels and pair him up with Jake Arrieta behind Aaron Nola, the Fightin’ Phils might be ready to make a run at the NL East crown once again in 2020.