MLB veteran pitcher Cole Hamels agreed to a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres on Thursday afternoon, per Robert Murray of Fansided.
Getting back to the big leagues s will not be easy for the 15-year veteran, who last pitched a major league game in 2020 for the Atlanta Braves.
Hamels only had one start for Atlanta that season, giving up three runs in 3.1 innings. The left-hander was placed on the 60-day injured list and has struggled to get back on the mound since.
Healthy for the first time in 2 and 1/2 years, Hamels joins the Padres, where he will vie for a starting role with the Padres at the tail end of the rotation.
According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Hamels will earn a $2 million salary if he makes the team.
Finding a spot in the Padres rotation might not be easy for Hamels, the native San Diegan.
Before the addition of Michael Wacha, Manager Bob Melvin spoke to the media on the state of the Padres pitching staff, “We’ve mapped out the five that we know are going to be in the rotation,” Melvin said. “Then there are going to be some spots where other guys are going to get an audition. … As of right now, there’s no decision on whether we’re going five- or six-man rotation.”
At the forefront, the trio of Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove are as good as any in all of baseball. With Wacha now on the team, he will likely join Nick Martinez and Seth Lugo as the back end of a six-man rotation.
A full rotation leaves guys like Hamels and two-time All-Star Julio Teheran without a role to start the season.
But as the saying goes, you can never have “too much pitching.” The 2021 San Diego Padres could certainly attest to that, seeing more than half of its starting rotation land on the injured list.
While the team was largely healthy in 2022, there’s no guarantee that it will be the same in 2023.
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Martinez and Lugo have both been excellent in their careers coming out of the bullpen. While the team is hopeful Martinez and Lugo can translate that success over longer outings, it can’t hurt to have depth.
If Hamels can reclaim the magic he once had for over a decade as the ace of the Philadelphia Phillies, he might just be the final piece to the Padres hoisting their first World Series trophy in franchise history, something Hamels did as series MVP for the Phillies in 2008.
Even if Hamels doesn’t make it back to what he once was, his experience can go a long way.
Al was born in Fresno, California with a passion for talking and writing about sports. The lifelong Padres fan is currently attending Fresno State as he pursues a degree in broadcast journalism. In addition to being a student, he does public address announcing at both the high school and collegiate levels.