Phillies legend Cole Hamels is reportedly looking to make a comeback in 2023 according to the New York Post’s Jon Heyman. The former Phillies ace and 2008 World Series MVP will be 39 years old next year, but that won’t stop him from giving it another shot.
Cole Hamels was an anchor in the Phillies’ rotation for 10 seasons after debuting in 2006. The southpaw earned three All-Star nods during his time in Philadelphia, to go along with four top-10 finishes in Cy Young Award voting. He was the MVP of both the NLCS and World Series during the Phillies’ remarkable 2008 season, and cemented himself as one of the greatest hurlers in franchise history. Overall, Hamels tossed 1,930.0 innings of 3.30 ERA ball in a Phillies’ uniform, while piling up 114 wins and 1,844 strikeouts.
Former General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. dealt Hamels to the Texas Rangers at the 2015 trade deadline along with Jake Diekman as part of an overdue rebuilding effort, in exchange for prospects Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson and injured veteran Matt Harrison. It ended up not working out so well for the Phils, as Hamels and Diekman would continue to flourish in Texas. Meanwhile, Williams, Asher and Thompson never found their footing at the big league level, Eickhoff fizzled out after an impressive start to his career, Alfaro was flipped to the Marlins in the J.T. Realmuto deal, and Harrison never took the field again.
Despite the lack of success on the Phillies’ end of the trade, Cole Hamels held up his end of the bargain, as he became the Rangers’ ace for the next four seasons. Over 546.2 total innings in Texas, Hamels posted a rock-solid 3.90 ERA, while punching out 497 batters and earning another All-Star berth in 2016. His Rangers tenure came to an end when he was flipped once again at the 2018 deadline to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for starter Eddie Butler and a pair of low-level prospects. Hamels was terrific in 39 starts during his season and a half in Chicago, working to a 3.30 ERA and racking up 2017 strikeouts in 218.0 innings pitched.
Hamels signed a one-year, $18 million contract with the Atlanta Braves during the 2019-20 offseason, but wasn’t able to provide much of anything as he was plagued by injuries. He ultimately made only one start at the end of the season, going 3.1 innings before being shelved again with a shoulder issue. After his uninspiring stay in Atlanta, Hamels settled for a $1 million pact with the Dodgers in mid-2021, but was never able to suit up for them after the same shoulder injury cropped back up. He has recently been sitting out the 2022 season in the hopes of getting his arm right once more.
If Cole Hamels is able to make a successful comeback, it’ll mark a fitting conclusion to an outstanding career. Hamels has nothing left to prove in the big leagues, and is still going for it simply for love of the game. The former first round pick has put together a borderline Hall of Fame-worthy resume, and will go down in history as one of the Phillies’ all-time greats. If he still has anything left in the tank, it would be a storybook ending to see him finish things off here in Philadelphia.