By: Alex Patt
Just a few days ago the Chicago Cubs picked up the option of RHP Cole Hamels. The 34-year old veteran came over to the Cubs via trade right before the deadline and proved to be one of the best, if not the best, moves Theo Epstein made in 2018. After struggling with the Rangers for the first half of the season, Hamels pitched to a 2.36 ERA, 1.100 WHIP, 3.42 FIP and 8.7 K/9 in 76.1 innings. He also pitched two shout innings in relief in the NL Wild Card game.
Just today he took to Twitter and shared his excitement to call Wrigley Field home in 2019.
Bringing back Cole Hamels for 2019 was a no-brainer, and honestly a move most people anticipated. His performance as a Cub in 2018 plus a need for five solidified starters going forward made it pretty obvious they were trying to get him back. This is a guy who has had an exceptional career outside one really bad stretch in Texas, a bad team in a hitter-friendly ballpark. A career 3.40 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 2,415 strikeouts in 13 years in the majors, it is easy to imagine there is gas left in the tank for him.
He fits nicely in a rotation of veterans, two of which have had postseason success like Hamels has had. The combined postseason ERA of Hamels, Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester is 2.89 in 305.2 innings, not too shabby. Right now Hamels can fit right in the middle behind Lester and Hendricks and right in front of Jose Quintana and Yu Darvish. Having reliable stability in the middle of a rotation is never a bad thing.
Many other moves will be made this offseason, but having this guy back was the first step in trying to get that crown back to Wrigley Field.