In search of starting pitching, the San Diego Padres attended a workout for Cole Hamels on Friday.
The private workout for several major league teams was held in Texas. As many as 20 major league teams were in attendance. The veteran pitcher is in search of employment for the end of the 2021 season and is an interesting player to consider signing.
The former World Series MVP comes with the reputation as a big-game pitcher. His last stint in the majors was with the Braves in 2020, and it did not go smoothly for the veteran hurler who made one start for the Braves before going down with an injury. His left shoulder and forearm are apparently healthier as Hamels plans to continue his major league career. He is ready to pitch again and, health-permitting will do so this season.
The 37-year-old is a native of San Diego and could help solidify the rotation, but he comes with several question marks.
At his workout on Friday, Hamels threw two 30-pitch sessions with a five-minute break in between.
According to MLB.com, Hamels topped out at 90 mph with his heater and sat around 88.5 with his average fastball velocity. The offspeed arsenal showed crispness, but the lefty lacked command. His changeup is his best pitch, and the feel to it was shown. The command issue is to be expected given his lack of innings so far this season. It may take time for Hamels to be useful at the major league level, but he could easily build arm strength for the end of the season and beyond.
Hamels has the capability to be a solid pitcher. The veteran also comes with the tenacity and work ethic to be infectious come playoff time. In a five or seven-game series, successful teams need several players to step up.
The Padres need help now, and Hamels may not be an option for that when it comes to eating innings. In reality, Hamels might need two or three starts in the minors in order to get his mechanics and arm in order to face major league hitters. The Padres may want a pitcher to come in and fit their mold right away—one who does not come with question marks.
A.J. Preller and his staff attended the workout a few days ago, but a signing is not imminent. Hamels is in the mix for the Padres, but the team will look at Hamels as one of several additions made to the team. Not as their sole acquisition this trade deadline.
In bringing Hamels into the roster, the Padres would not need to surrender one of their prized prospects. The free-agent pitcher is available to sign with whomever he wants. Hamels signed for $18 million last year on a one-year deal from the Atlanta Braves. His price tag is a fraction of that currently. Hamels will be paid by someone. The Padres may be that team, but the veteran pitcher must show that he can handle the load for the rest of the 2021 season. The Padres do not need another hurt pitcher on their roster.