Cole Hamels had an easy out last season. He could have passed on $144 million last July and opted to test the waters of free agency.
It wasn't just cash Hamels left behind. He also might have passed on a life preserver that would have brought him to a winning team.
Hamels could have said that he loved his time in Philadelphia during his departing press conference, but it was time to leave an aging core. But Hamels has always enjoyed playing for the Phillies, just like Jimmy Rollins. King Cole and J-Roll are a pair of native Californians that reside in the Delaware Valley year round.
Philadelphia is home to Hamels but, after posting a 1-7 record with little run support, does the proud lefty have any regrets about staying?
Will Hamels become the first major leaguer since Mike Maroth in 2003 to lose 20 games? If the Phillies' offense doesn't find an elixir, which somehow enables the team to become more selective and find a way to get on base more often, Hamels could hit 20 losses. It would be ironic since many pundits thought he could win 20 games.
Hamels failed to answer questions after an inexplicable loss to the wretched Marlins, who only have nine wins against teams not named the Phillies. Hamels was exceptional Monday night in a 2-1 defeat. Great fastball, outstanding changeup.
What could Hamels say?
"I'll be fine this season if I pitch like I'm capable," Hamels said during spring training. "Our offense will be better now that Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will start the season and we have Michael Young."
The offense is somehow worse this season making it harder on the starters.
"Hamels has been uneven, but he doesn't deserve this record," a NL scout said. "How can they be that bad in games he starts [1-9]? You have to wonder if he wishes he went elsewhere in the offseason."
Can Hamels lose 20 in 2013?
"Absolutely," the NL scout said. "If he doesn't get injured. They'll continue to throw him out there and if the offense doesn't get better, I don't know why it would get better, he should continue to lose since he gets no support."