After starting off the season with a record of 1-4 and fans calling for new manager Gabe Kapler’s job, the Philadelphia Phillies figured things out and are a half game out of first place in the N.L. East.
Sporting a record of 28-19, the young Phillies trusted their own process, thanks to good approaches at the plate and great pitching performances from aces Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. The Phillies’ pitching staff led by Nola and Arrieta has an ERA of 3.36, which is second in the National League and third in Major League Baseball this season. Only the Milwaukee Brewers (3.34) and the defending World Series champion Houston Astros (2.39) have lower ERAs.
In terms of Nola and Arrieta, they are simply dominating on the mound as a dynamic 1-2 punch. Nola has a record of 6-2 with an ERA of 2.37 and is striking out 57 hitters over 64.2 innings pitched.
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Arrieta, however, put together a good performance against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night. He struck out seven over 6.2 innings pitched and giving up zero earned runs. His season stats are ridiculous too with a 2.45 ERA and record of 4-2.
But the Phillies cannot just lean on those two pitchers to get them through the dog days of summer and into the postseason. Someone else needs to step up.
Could it be Nick Pivetta, who is having a career season thus far (4-2, 3.23 ERA)? Or what about Vince Velasquez, who is showing again that he is a strikeout machine (64 Ks)?
This is where a familiar name could come into play for the Phillies as the trade deadline approaches.
Who is that familiar name you might ask? It is none other than former Phillies’ ace and current Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cole Hamels.
Hamels’ name is starting to heat up on the hot stove as the Rangers are in last place in the A.L. West (12.5 games behind the Astros). With Texas fading quickly, they might be looking to press the reset button and sell off their veteran pieces.
Through 10 games pitched, the southpaw is leading the Rangers’ pitching staff with an ERA of 3.38 to go along with a 3-4 record. Not to mention, he has 64 strikeouts in 58.2 innings pitched, but given up 11 home runs thus far.
Hamels’ numbers are by no means horrible. But it is tough to win many games, when your offense is only scoring 4.24 runs per game, which is below the major league average of 4.38.
With that being said, a Phillies-Hamels trade could be a perfect reunion. If he came back to the Phillies he would not have to be the ace of the staff. He could easily slide in as the third starter behind Nola and Arrieta. It would be an All-Star starting staff with Pivetta, Velasquez, and eventually Eickhoff rounding out the rotation.
Also, the Phillies can afford to take on Hamels’ contract as he is making $23.5 million this season with a team option in 2019. This means that the Phillies could potentially carry this three-headed monster into next season.
All the signs are there for the Phillies to make a competitive offer for their former ace if they are still in the hunt. They may have to give up some young prospects in the process, but as long as it is not Sixto Sanchez, then why not bring him back.