May 23, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) throws to the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
It is July 1, 2015, and pennant fever is starting to spread in Houston. It is not something most people, even the most rabid of Astros fans, had anticipated for this summer. Most thought that the only excitement would be watching our beloved Biggio finally get the recognition he deserved in Cooperstown.
However, the fever is rising.
“The main reason to trade for Cole Hamels is, of course, to win the World Series this year.”
Cole Hamels is the answer
While the Astros have been a good story to this point in the season, there are those that believe they are still a year away. I submit to you that the Astros are simply a pitcher away and that pitcher is Cole Hamels. I have written several articles previously explaining all the reasons Mr. Hamels is the perfect addition to this Houston pitching staff. I have discussed the former World Series MVP’s experience.
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I mentioned the fact that aces do not grow on trees and while there will be many available this offseason, none will come at the relatively cheap price averaging only $22 million a year and there are no guarantees that any will sign in Houston instead of New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. Do you really want to get into a bidding war with those teams for David Price or Johnny Cueto?
Also, having Cole Hamels on a winning team in Houston only adds to the likelihood that another high-level pitcher may be willing to sign here in the offseason.
Astros trying to win World Series this year
The main reason to trade for Cole Hamels is, of course, to win the World Series this year. A rotation of Hamels, Keuchel and McCullers makes the Astros instant contenders capable of beating anyone in the playoffs. Is Hamels worth it? Absolutely! I could go back the past seven years and describe how he dominated the National League, but I don’t have to.
Let’s just look at what he has done this year on a horrible Phillies team: 3.26 ERA, 99 1/3 IP, 106 strikeouts. As of this writing, Hamels, who finished 6th in Cy Young voting last year, also dominates in newer statistical categories, such as WAR, and this really shows his value.
His WAR of 2.8 this year is higher than that of Gerrit Cole, Felix Hernandez, Chris Sale and much higher than Johnny Cueto. In fact, the only pitchers in the American League with a higher WAR are Chris Archer, Sonny Gray and Dallas Keuchel.
Don’t be fooled, Hamels is most certainly an ace in the prime of his career and he is already signed through 2018 with an option for 2019. In other words, if you have to give up prospects for him, you won’t lose him after two months of a rental.
Next: Will Astros have to mortgage their future?