Both the New York Mets and Yankees will send representation down to Texas on Friday to watch veteran southpaw Cole Hamels’ showcase as the former Phillies standout hopes to write one more chapter in his career storybook.
The 37-year-old appeared in just one game after signing a one-year, $8 million pact with the Atlanta Braves last season as a shoulder injury sustained in spring training held him out for a majority of the year.
He’s maintained the notion that he can still pitch at the MLB level, but there had not been a suitor throughout the winter and into the first half of the season. Now past the halfway point, with the trade deadline looming, and with injuries playing a major part in roster construction for the rest of the campaign, Hamels has a chance to confirm his belief.
There certainly is not a lack of experience that a potential contender could utilize for the stretch run. Hamels was one of the best lefties in the National League from 2006-2014 with the Phillies, going 108-83 with a 3.27 ERA. He was named to three All-Star teams and helped lead Philadelphia to its first World Series in 28 years in 2008.
Hamels experienced a slight dip in production but was still plenty serviceable with the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs, posting a 3.72 ERA from 2015-2019.
The Yankees are looking for a bit more reliability at the back end of a struggling rotation behind Gerrit Cole — who has encountered his fair share of struggles since MLB’s sticky-substance crackdown. With Corey Kluber on the 60-day IL, Nestor Cortes has been the most recent arm to fill in as an impromptu fifth starter, but the southpaw that began the year as a reliever has only been stretched out to 4.2 innings.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Yankees’ rotation — Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German, and Jamison Taillon — all have ERA’s over 4.15.
In Queens, the Mets are looking to keep their rotation afloat until proper reinforcements arrive.
Carlos Carrasco is approaching his Mets debut after suffering a torn hamstring late in spring training while Noah Syndergaard’s rehab from Tommy John surgery took an unexpected snag that pushed back his return date to September.
Meanwhile, key depth arms like David Peterson, Jordan Yamomoto, and Joey Lucchesi are all the IL, leaving the Mets with Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, Marcus Stroman, and Tylor Megill as their only healthy starters.
Seeing Hamels in orange and blue would certainly make the stomachs of some Flushing faithful turn considering the rivalry the Mets had with the lefty and the Phillies for nearly a decade. But a team looking to separate themselves at the top of the National League East coming out of the All-Star break can’t afford to be too picky with viable pitching help that doesn’t come in the form of a trade at a premium.