A handful of free agent hurlers threw for scouts this afternoon in Arlington, tweets Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Cole Hamels, Derek Holland and Kyle Crick each worked out for clubs in search of an opportunity.
Hamels, who turned 39 last month, is obviously the highest-profile of the bunch. One of the top pitchers in the game during his peak with the Phillies, Hamels is a four-time All-Star and former World Series MVP. He was an exemplar of durability throughout his peak, starting 30+ games each season from 2008-16. Hamels missed a bit of time with the 2017 Rangers and 2019 Cubs but still topped 140 innings in both years, with a 32-start showing sandwiched in between.
Unfortunately, the veteran southpaw has had virtually nothing go his way the past few seasons. Signed to a one-year deal by the Braves in 2020, Hamels was limited to just one appearance by shoulder issues. He lingered in free agency until August of the following season, when he caught on with the Dodgers on a $1MM contract. Hamels’ first comeback attempt was derailed within weeks by renewed shoulder discomfort, and he returned to the open market over the 2021-22 offseason.
The 15-year MLB veteran required surgery on his shoulder and didn’t sign for 2022. While initial reports last offseason suggested he could factor into the mix by the end of the summer, he eventually turned his attention to the upcoming season. Throughout the process, Hamels has maintained interest in a comeback, even as he told the Associated Press last month he’s also undergone operations on his right knee and left foot. It seems he’s now healthy enough to get back on a mound, where clubs will evaluate whether his current form warrants a minor league contract.
Holland also has over a decade of MLB experience. The 36-year-old has played for six different clubs over a 13-year big league career. He had some success as a starter early on with the Rangers and committed to a full-time bullpen role in 2019. The southpaw soaked up plenty of innings out of the ’pen for the Giants, Cubs, Pirates and Tigers from 2019-21 but allowed nearly six earned runs per nine altogether in that stretch. He spent last season in Triple-A in the Red Sox and Blue Jays organizations, combining for a 5.77 ERA with a 22.8% strikeout rate in 39 innings at the top minor league level. Released by Toronto around the All-Star Break, he didn’t pitch during the season’s second half.
Crick has the most recent big league experience of the group. The 30-year-old righty has pitched in the majors in each of the last six seasons, including 14 outings with the White Sox last year. His final outing came in mid-June, though, as he was placed on the injured list with inflammation in his throwing elbow. He hit minor league free agency at season’s end once Chicago ran through waivers. Crick had a couple excellent seasons to start his career with the Giants and Pirates in 2017-18; he owns a 4.47 ERA in exactly 100 big league outings since the beginning of the 2019 campaign.