Should the Twins Be In on Cole Hamels?
Image courtesy of © Joe Puetz-USA TODAY SportsWith only Jose Berrios locked into the 2020 rotation, the Twins will likely be looking to add at least two starters, and Cole Hamels certainly makes sense on a similar contract to what Nelson Cruz signed last season. If the Twins sign him to a $17 million contract with a $13-$15 million option for 2021, it would be a solid move.
The 35-year old veteran starter is coming off another solid season where he threw 141 innings with a 3.81 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 2.55 K/BB, 47.3 GB%, and 2.5 WAR. He has indicated he would be open to signing a one year deal as long as the team he signs with is a championship-caliber team. The Twins would certainly check that box, and signing Hamels would push them closer to the end goal.
Since his debut in 2006, Cole Hamels has been one of the most consistently good pitchers in the game. Over his 14 seasons, his highest ERA was just 4.20 and he finished in the threes or lower for ERA in 11 of his 14 seasons. He has also finished with a WAR of 2.5 or higher in 12 of his seasons.
His strikeout rate started to take a dip in 2017, but he had it back to a 9.08 K/9 this season. His velocity has dipped on the fastball, so he has had to adjust and he has done so by learning how to get batters out without velocity and with a great breaking ball and changeup. Maybe Wes Johnson can wave his magic wand and get a couple miles per hour back on that arm.
Hamels certainly isn’t the top end starting pitcher many want like Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, but he is on the end of the second tier group of Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler, and Jake Odorizzi. If the Twins are looking for just a one- or two-year deal with a consistent pitcher, he is a good option for the number three or four spot in the rotation.
What do you think of Cole Hamels? Is he someone you hope to see the Twins pick up via free agency? Leave a comment and get the discussion started below.