Braves: Cole Hamels gets shot with Padres on minor league deal

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Long-time Phillies and short-time Braves pitcher Cole Hamels is in agreement with the Padres on a minor league deal, which I assume will include an invite to major league Spring Training.

Hamels is 39 years old and will likely never contribute in a significant way ever again, as injuries have derailed what was an illustrious career. He spent more than a decade as one of the most reliable starters in baseball but has hardly pitched in the past few years. For 13 seasons from 2006 to 2019, Hamels posted a 3.42 ERA over nearly 2,700 innings. His most considerable contribution came in 2008, propelling the Phillies to the World Series, earning MVP honors in the NLCS and World Series.

However, that is ancient history. The Braves handed Cole Hamels a one-year, $18 million deal in 2020, but he was bothered by shoulder issues before the season even started. The pandemic pushed the season back, and he still wasn’t healthy when Opening Day rolled around, dealing with triceps tendinitis. Eventually, he came off the injured list in September of that season, pitching 3.1 innings and heading back to the IL afterward.

He didn’t sign with any club the following offseason, then held a showcase in July of 2021, which led to a deal with the Dodgers. He was eventually ruled out for the season just a couple of weeks later due to shoulder problems, and Hamels didn’t pitch at all in 2022, undergoing three different surgeries.

It was arguably the worst free agent deal of Alex Anthopoulos’ tenure, and it should be heavily scrutinized. As bad as the respective deals of Will Smith and Marcell Ozuna are, Cole Hamels’ injury history was so lengthy that giving him nearly $20 million was malpractice. Injuries are usually unpredictable, and GMs shouldn’t be crucified for them, but AA overlooked a laundry list of injuries prior to the Braves signing Hamels, and it may have cost them a World Series in 2020.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire



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