Braves: The case for bringing back Cole Hamels

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Last offseason, Alex Anthopoulos threw a near-perfect game. Not only did he avoid the land mine that was Josh Donaldson, but he also brought in both Marcell Ozuna and Travis d’Arnaud for a quarter of the price — two guys who hit third and fourth, respectively, in the postseason.

The only miss Anthopoulos had was Cole Hamels, who he signed to a one-year, $18 million contract. Hamels dealt with injuries since before the start of the season, and after finally returning in early September, he was immediately shut down for the rest of the year after just one start (3.1 innings). His inability to stay healthy was a substantial reason why the Braves rotation struggled, and had he been available during the postseason, the Braves may have been able to conquer the Dodgers in the NLCS. However, that’s all in the past now. Looking forward, should the Braves be interested in giving him another chance?

I’m going to keep this relatively short and sweet. Yes, the Braves should be interested in adding a veteran pitcher with loads of playoff experience that is willing to take a short-term deal. With that being said, this decision is really going to be up to Hamels and his health.

Most importantly, the soon-to-be 37-year-old has to prove he’s healthy and still has some stuff in the tank. If his physical checks out, that is step one. Secondly, Hamels has to be willing to take a significant pay cut.

I can’t imagine anyone will be willing to pay him more than $10 million for a one-year deal after what happened last season, especially not a serious contender. If he can find it, good for him. However, if Hamels’ primary focus is helping a team win a World Series, returning to the Braves makes a lot of sense, and he should be willing to take a hometown discount of sorts.

I’m fairly confident Hamels wants to continue playing, and if that’s the case, I’m also confident that he would like to stay with a contender. The most significant obstacle will be his health. However, if he can prove he’s 100% before the start of next season and is willing to take a one-year contract at less than half of what he made last year, the Braves should consider it. I don’t imagine there will be too many better options at such a low price-tag.

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