Hamels Gets One Last Free Agent Spotlight, Maddonism, Maples Spin, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Hamels Gets One Last Free Agent Spotlight, Maddonism, Maples Spin, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Littlest Girl’s birthday party is today, which is not only awesome and I’m gonna enjoy the heck out of it, it also means there are some minor scheduling implications for you folks. Michael, Luis, and Eli are all out of town this weekend, so, with the birthday festivities, it’s possible your Cubs lineup and Pre-Gamin’ are gonna be at odd/slow hours. I’ll get to them when I can, but priority one today is my sweetie.

  • Cole Hamels returns to the rotation today for a final start on the season, and maybe a final start with the Cubs. The impending free agent was incredible in the first half, hurt his oblique soon after the break, missed a month, and when he returned, everything was off. Unfortunately, it was a lot like his oblique injury with the Rangers (mechanics off, command problems, velocity down), which ultimately took a calendar year to get right. The Cubs gave Hamels some additional rest this month, dubbing it shoulder fatigue, but I think everyone kind of understands it was and is an opportunity to get him right so that he could make one final start.
  • Including Hamels:

  • Before his injury, Hamels was looking at a guaranteed qualifying offer from the Cubs, a QO rejection, and then a two or maybe even three-year contract at a solid rate. Now, he’s a 35-year-old whose stellar performance completely evaporated because of one oblique injury. Even with a dominant outing tonight, it has become very difficult to envision the Cubs making him a qualifying offer (which is a bummer), even more difficult to see him rejecting one if they did (one year, $18-ish million), and even more difficult still to see him getting a sizable multi-year deal in free agency.
  • There’s a long way to go from here to there, but you could at least imagine a scenario where, depending on the rest of the rotation shuffling and the way Hamels finds the market, Hamels returns to the Cubs in 2020 on a modest contract. Make no mistake, the idea of having a rotation that features the same five guys as this year – except a year older – is really not what you want to see in an ideal world. But if substantial upgrades take place elsewhere? And if the depth behind those starters is dramatically improved …(and I’d argue it already is, with a reformed Tyler Chatwood, an impressive Alec Mills, a lot of the AA arms becoming AAA arms next year, and Kendall Graveman becoming available).
  • Is it my preferred rotation path? No. I really think the Cubs need to find a way to add an *IMPACT* starting pitcher. But there are only so many of those guys, and sometimes you just can’t get them. In that world, the Cubs could do a lot worse than getting Hamels back on a one-year deal. It’s not like he can’t suddenly be great again very quickly. We know he can.
  • Anyway, whether we think it changes much or nothing at all, it’s probably for the best that Hamels dominates today. *Maybe* it’s enough to get him a qualifying offer, and *maybe* he rejects to net the Cubs a draft pick.
  • Whatever happens with Joe Maddon in the next two days, I’ll still remember things like this:

  • The dreaming on Dillon Maples is so well-founded, and so frustrating:

  • This is very annoying:

  • Play ball:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.