Red Sox Free Agent Target: Starting pitcher Cole Hamels

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Cole Hamels #35 of the Chicago Cubs pitches during the second inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 11, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Cole Hamels #35 of the Chicago Cubs pitches during the second inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 11, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox are in need of some help for their starting rotation and lucky for them there are some veterans on the free-agent market.

It’s a confusing time right now or the Red Sox and the Fenway Faithful. We’re a little over a year removed from winning our fourth World Series in the last 16 years, and just weeks removed from an abysmal third-place finish in the division. With a desire to contend in 2020 and a massive need to cut from the payroll, it’s difficult to see the path the organization will follow.

A major need that Chaim Bloom needs to address this winter is the starting rotation. Injuries absolutely ravaged the starting unit except for lefty Eduardo Rodriguez. Chris Sale and David Price both needed to be shut down early due to lingering injury issues and Nathan Eovaldi missed much of the season due to an elbow problem.

Boston’s budget will be monitored down to the penny for any and all transactions that are done during the offseason. With that said, Bloom and the front office can’t afford to stay quiet with the team needing improvements.

There’s a vacancy in the rotation thanks to Rick Porcello heading to free agency and it has to be filled ASAP. It would be in the best interests of the Red Sox to seek out a veteran arm to meet both of their goals for 2020.

That’s where Cole Hamels comes into the picture. Now, I know that he isn’t the flashiest name on the big board but he can do exactly what the Red Sox need. A big hurdle that will need to be cleared will be Hamels’ desired salary. He’s earned just under $200M over his career and despite his dip in performance, I’m sure he’d like to stay in a certain range.

Hamels pulled in $20M from the Cubs last season but also saw a massive decline in his numbers most notably his innings pitched, 190.2 in 2018 to 141.2 in 2019. It wasn’t all bad or Hamels though as he did amass a 3.81 ERA through those innings with a 9.1 K/9 and a 143/56 K/BB ratio.

Compared to Porcello’s 2019, 5.52,7.4,143/45, Hamels would be an upgrade. Though Pretty Ricky did have fewer walks through more innings.

In all honesty, the Red Sox don’t need Cole to anything close to his former All-Star self, but if he can stay within the realm of his 2019 efforts, he’d be an improvement to the rotation. His veteran presence on a team full of younger talent can also be a boost for Alex Cora. Cole’s experience could also be a major asset to the Red Sox if they begin to lose starters again.

Now that we’ve looked at his 2019 campaign we need to look at his salary. Despite seeing his numbers dip he will still likely command a decent wage. It’s going to come down to reality versus fiction though in relation to his next contract.

I can’t see any team offering him either big money or big-time years. If bloom can persuade him to see the big picture in relation to winning in Boston then he may concede and leave some money on the table.

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In my eyes, a perfect deal for a pitcher the caliber of Hamels with his history and current form would be in the area of 2-years/$30M. That may seem like a big payday but considering what Price and Sale are earning this year individually, it’s a hell of a bargain.

The big thing that will need to happen this winter to free up some funds will be a massive trade. Boston will have to find a suitor for one of their big-money arms and that’ll be easier said than done. However, if they’re able to do that then Bloom and his team will have a good amount of cash to go shopping.

If Boston were to sign Hamels it would create a bit of a headache for Cora though as he would be yet another lefty in the rotation. Eovaldi would be the sole right-hander in a battery of southpaws. This would allow the rest of the league to gameplan with ease as they know that they’d be running into a lefty 80% of the time they face the Red Sox. It would be a gamble but it could be worth it in the long run.

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This is going to be a long winter and even longer season if the Red Sox aren’t able to fix the holes in the roster. Though he doesn’t have the luster he once did, Cole Hamels could be a big addition to the Boston lineup. He has the winning experience and the mentality to fit right in with this team and his abilities are still strong enough to get Boston back to October baseball.