Texas Rangers: Is Cole Hamels Still Considered An Ace Pitcher?

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 21: Cole Hamels (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 21: Cole Hamels (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

After the Texas Rangers traded Yu Darvish in July, lefty Cole Hamels became the ace of the rotation. At this stage in his career can Hamels still be the leader at the top of the starting rotation?

The Texas Rangers head into the 2017 off-season with two starting pitchers locked in for next season. “Ace” Cole Hamels and lefty Martin Perez, after that it’s wide open for anyone to take right now.

After the 2017 season, it could be time to worry about whether or not Hamels can still be a leader in the rotation. He went 11-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 24 starts, and saw plenty of time on the disabled list.

The 33-year-old lefty is a four-time All-Star and a well-respected pitcher in the MLB. There is no doubt that Hamels does help the Rangers, but at this point is he still the guy you count on in the No. 1 spot?

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The Rangers have Hamels under contract for 2018 and then a $20 million team option for 2019. It’s safe to assume the Rangers are going to decline that 2019 option. There is even a good chance the Rangers attempt to move Hamels at some point in 2018.

He was once a fantastic pitcher that even took home World Series MVP in 2008. His younger years are behind him, and it’s time to realize that Hamels shouldn’t be the one leading this Rangers rotation.

This off-season the Rangers should at least kick the tires on Yu Darvish reunion. Test the waters on a Jake Arrieta deal. The Rangers should join the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes, but the 23-year-old phenom is going to carry a hefty price tag.

Talent doesn’t come cheap and the Rangers are going to have to open up their wallet to free agents. There is no doubt Hamels is a talented pitcher, but his better years are behind him. The Rangers need to acquire an ace pitcher this off-season.