PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Could Cole Hamels wear red pinstripes once again? The 2008 World Series MVP and free agent pitcher says he would “love the opportunity to come back” and play for the Philadelphia Phillies.
“I know Philly is finally trying to make that push,” Hamels told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. “They’re building their roster. If I fit on their roster and their plans, I’d love the opportunity to come back. It’s probably more on their end, though, to reach out and see if I actually do fit in their plans. It would be difficult for me to say, ‘Hey, I want to play there, can you guys make it happen?’ But I’m always willing to play for that team and city and attempt to win a World Series. That’s where I am right now. I just want to have the opportunity to get to the postseason, just so that I can try to win.”
The 35-year-old Hamels, a free agent for the first time in his career, revealed to MLB.com that he is open to signing a one-year contract with clubs that are championship contenders. The Chicago Cubs declined to make him a qualifying offer following the final season of his seven-year, $158 million deal he signed with the Phillies in 2012.
“I’m not there to handcuff somebody or an organization,” Hamels told MLB.com. “That’s what the younger guys can do. I can do one year here and there and just play as long as I can play. I think that’s what will help give me an opportunity to play on teams that are trying to go to the postseason. If you need one guy, I can just kind of bounce around. Obviously, if the Phillies were interested in longer than one, I’d entertain that, too. But I think I want the opportunity to have as many opportunities to get to the postseason and try to win.”
The Phillies are in desperate need of starting pitching help this offseason and signing Hamels to a one-year deal would plug a huge hole in the rotation. But, Hamels does come with some question marks as he suffered an oblique injury last season, finishing 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts.
“I rushed back,” Hamels explained to MLB.com. “When you have an oblique injury, you can’t do anything for 14-20 days. I didn’t throw. I just wasn’t able to build up the arm strength. I thought I’d be able to generate my pitches just by being out there. I thought I could just make it work. Unfortunately, my arm got tired. I basically ran before I could walk. I was never able to catch up.”
The Phillies traded Hamels to the Texas Rangers in 2015 when the organization began to go into rebuilding mode. Of the six players the Phillies received back, only one remains with the organization — Nick Williams.
The Rangers traded Hamels to the Cubs at the 2018 trade deadline.
The former 2002 first-round draft pick is 163-121 with a 3.42 ERA in his 14-year career.