According to MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman, the 37-year-old southpaw is expected to hold an exhibition on July 16 in Texas (how convenient), where he’ll throw for interested teams.
Hamels is looking to make a comeback after signing with the Atlanta Braves in 2020 and fizzling out with them due to injury. Otherwise, the former Ranger has been a model of consistency over his career, tossing at least 130 innings in every season from 2016-2019.
That track record of stability alone should make him a coveted target should he look good in the showcase.
One team that has familiarity with Hamels? The Texas Rangers, who acquired him from the Philadelphia Phillies ahead of a 2015 playoff run. He was very solid during his tenure in Arlington overall, with a 3.90 ERA in four seasons, including an All-Star appearance in 2016.
Cole Hamels’ familiarity with the Texas Rangers could factor into a possible reunion
In all likelihood, Hamels will want to latch on with a contender for the second half of the season, seeing as he’ll be 37 and time is ticking on what has been a very good career. Those kinds of players typically want to win at that stage.
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But the Texas Rangers do offer Hamels multiple benefits that other interested teams might not, including guaranteed rotation status particularly after the trade deadline (when Kyle Gibson is expected to be dealt). Chris Woodward will need pitchers to fill innings in the anticipated absence of Gibson, to which Hamels could do just that.
Hamels also knows the Rangers well and was quite successful here, as we mentioned earlier. In addition, he could serve as a mentor to some of these young Texas pitchers.
Signing the veteran southpaw would also allow the Rangers to take it slow with their pitching prospects such as Cole Winn, not feeling the need to rush them to Arlington for innings since they’ll have a workhorse like Hamels.
And the 37-year-old would come reasonably priced, as he’ll pitch just half a season. He won’t approach anywhere near the $18 million figure he got from the Braves in free agency two off-seasons ago.
At the very least, the Texas Rangers should attend the showcase. It’s in Texas, after all, and it can’t hurt to at least make a pitch to a guy you’re familiar with.