Interest in Cole Hamels is Reportedly Extremely Wide

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Interest in Cole Hamels is Reportedly Extremely Wide

Chicago Cubs

Having never been a free agent before in his entire career, I have long expected that Cole Hamels would really want to carefully consider where he’s going to play next.

That is to say, even if we were certain the Cubs very much wanted him back, and even if we were certain Hamels would love to remain with the Cubs, I still would expect him to have lots and lots of conversations out there. Hence, where there *isn’t* even that level of certainty about interest in a reunion, Hamels’ agent is obviously going to be out there talking to almost ever dang team in baseball:

The pitching market is really robust in free agency this year, but that’s always a double-edged sword: part of the reason it is so robust is because a whole lot of teams have outgoing starters. Hamels will find himself a nice deal no matter what, but probably more important to him, he’ll be able to be very choosy about where he decides to spend the next year or two of his career.

Would he stick with the Cubs? Well, I mean, he’s said all the right things, and seems very much to have enjoyed his time in Chicago. Would the Cubs bring him back? In the abstract, of course. He’s a fine arm in the middle of a competitive rotation, with upside to still be really impactful when healthy and when the mechanics are on.

But with the second time he’s suffered an oblique injury that derailed his season, with his age, with the Cubs’ apparently tight budget, and with the Cubs’ increasing preference for bat-missing stuff, I am not sure if he’s the guy they’d seek out to add to the mix in free agency at the kind of contract he’ll get. Instead, I tend to think the Cubs are going to try to trade for an impactful starting pitcher out of whom they can try to squeeze a little more results (a la a Jonathan Gray type).

Alternatively, the Cubs might wait out the free agent starting pitching market, and then see what they can add after the flip of the calendar on a less-expensive deal. Don’t mistake me: I have huge concerns about the state of the Cubs’ rotation heading into 2020, but I’m trying to be realistic here. The Cubs are not likely to splurge on a $10+ million starting pitcher free agent right now.

Who knows. Maybe Hamels doesn’t find the right deal or right fit in these first couple months of free agency, and the sides get together for a conversation after the Cubs fail to make an impact trade. I tend to think that’s how it would have to play out if there were going to be a reunion.

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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.