After coming out of minor surgery following the Phillies early exit from the playoffs, Cole Hamels has one thing on his mind, rehabilitation. The successful surgery was removed loose bodies around his left elbow. The same inflamed elbow that sent him to the disabled list last season.
Looking at Hamels’ stats you wouldn’t be able to tell he was pitching with bone chips lingering in his elbow for a majority of last season. He was one of the few bright spots in the playoffs leading the Fightins to a 3-2 win in which Hollywood pitched six shutout innings.
The Pasadena native pitched just as well during the regular season, posting a 14-9 record with a WHIP under one. Hamels struck out an impressive 194 batters and posted a 2.79 era, the lowest of his career.
The soon-to-be 28 year-old may have reached the prime of his career last season and the Phils are calling for him to keep pitching lights out.
Ruben Amaro Jr. needs to avoid arbitration with Hamels because those herrings tend to turn player-management relations south.
Hollywood is a homegrown Phillie, drafted 17th overall in the 2002 draft. Philadelphia groomed the high schooler, who was regarded to by Sports Illustrated of having all the tools a high schooler needed to be a successful pitcher in the show.
After skipping college, the lanky lefty made his debut during the 2006 season and hit the ground running. Following a 9-8 rookie season, Hamels won 15 games in 2007 and has never won under 10 since then.
The Phillies number three ace took a step back during the 2009 season, his first and only losing record of his career, and had an even worse post-season (1-2 with a 7.58 ERA). But those numbers were overshadowed by Philadelphia’s World Series Championship, much thanks to their timely hitting.
But how the tables have turned, Charlie Manuel’s aging lineup now relies on consistent pitching rather than steady hitting. This makes signing the 6’3” hurler, who is at the peak of his career, to an extension even more important.
The Phils were able to do so after his less than stellar ’09 season when the two parties agreed to a three-year contract worth $20.5 million, but Hamels is likely in for a bigger pay day this time around.
Jason Boggs, Hamels’ agent, told Matt Breen of the Inquirer, “I think the calendar is going to take care of itself because at some point [the contract extension] has to be an issue.”
Hollywood’s agent sees the contract extension being an issue of when rather than if. Everybody from manage to the roster knows how important the lefty is to the clubhouse, especially after Cliff Lee’s slip up in the playoffs.
The Phils need stability and where better to have consistency than your bullpen. Hamels will receive a hefty payday before the season starts and the Phillies will lock up their homegrown poster boy for a few more years.