Free-agent left-hander Cole Hamels has indicated he’s open to signing a one-year deal, but that doesn’t mean the veteran is nearing the end of his career. On the contrary, agent John Boggs told Jon Morosi of MLB.com that the soon-to-be 36-year-old Hamels aims to pitch “at least five more seasons” in the majors.
Whether Hamels has another half-decade left in him is up for debate. What’s not debatable? Hamels is one of the best, most accomplished starters on this year’s open market. Unsurprisingly, there has been plenty of interest in the former Phillie, Ranger and Cub. Thirteen teams have already reached out in regards to Hamels, according to Boggs. The identities of those clubs are unclear, though Hamels has made it known his preference is to sign with a contender. It’s also worth noting Hamels is from San Diego, and though the Padres are mired in a painfully long playoff drought, he seems open to signing with his hometown team.
“It’s cool for him to think about coming home to San Diego,” Boggs told Morosi. “More than anything, he wants to compete for a championship. The chance to win is what’s going to drive his decision-making.”
The Padres happen to be among a slew of teams in line to chase starting pitching this offseason. Hamels isn’t a top-end free agent like Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, nor is he even a second-tier type like Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu or Jake Odorizzi, but he still looks capable of improving just about any team’s staff. While injuries limited Hamels to a mere 141 2/3 innings in 2019, he did give the Cubs a 3.81 ERA/4.09 FIP with 9.08 K/9, 3.56 BB/9 and a 47.3 percent groundball rate. Now, with no qualifying offer weighing him down, a large selection of teams seem to be zeroing in on the still-effective Hamels.