Tag:Cole Hamels
Posted on: March 3, 2012 2:06 pm

With free agency approaching, Hamels is popular

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The fans in Phillies red cheered Cole Hamels Saturday.

And . . .

"The Yankee fans were really nice to me, for some odd reason," Hamels said after his two-inning spring debut. "Maybe they were having fun in the Tiki Bar."

Or maybe they were aware that Hamels is eligible for free agency next winter.

If the Yankees stick to their talk about getting their payroll under $189 million, a big Hamels contract wouldn't fit. Besides, as CBSSports.com colleague Jon Heyman wrote a couple of weeks back, the smart money says that Hamels eventually signs a new deal to stay with the Phillies.

Until he signs, though, fans in other cities can dream. They can tell him how much they want him, too.

"Fans prepare," Hamels said. "They know when things are coming up. When I was playing with Cliff [Lee] in 2009, I saw it all the time."

Category: MLB
Posted on: January 17, 2012 12:54 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 2:23 pm

Hamels avoids arbitration, Lincecum doesn't

Cole Hamels signed a new contract Tuesday. Tim Lincecum didn't.

Hamels will get $15 million plus performance bonuses from the Phillies. Lincecum will exchange arbitration numbers with the Giants.

And none of that changes the big picture, because neither Hamels nor Lincecum has a new long-term contract yet.

As of now, Hamels is still eligible for free agency after the 2012 season. Lincecum is eligible after 2013.

And both can (and certainly will) continue to discuss long-term deals that will keep them off the market.

Hamels, who made $9.5 million in 2011, agreed to 2012 contract just before the deadline for arbitration-eligible players to exchange contract figures with their teams. Lincecum will go through the arbitration process, although he and the Giants can continue to work on a deal while awaiting a hearing.

According to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, Hamels' new deal also would pay him $100,000 if he's named the Most Valuable Player, $250,000 if he wins the Cy Young Award, $100,000 for World Series MVP and $50,000 each for LCS MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger or an All-Star appearance.

Tuesday was a deadline day for some teams that have a policy of not continuing negotiations after arbitration numbers are exchanged.

Posted on: November 14, 2011 5:22 pm

Kemp signs, and 2013 free-agent class takes a hit

MILWAUKEE -- Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder made it to the free-agent market.

Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez didn't.

It's always fun to look a few years down the line to see who what treats each year's free-agent marketplace will offer.

And it's always important to remember that those treats may or may not reach the market.

Matt Kemp could have been a free agent next winter. Jered Weaver could have, too.

Kemp and Weaver chose to take the big money upfront and stay in Southern California instead.

For now, Matt Cain and Cole Hamels remain on the list of possible 2012-13 free agents. In fact, right now Matt Cain and Cole Hamels probably top the list of 2012-13 free agents.

Hamels may not make it to the market, either. The Phillies would like to sign him to a long-term deal this winter.

Cain may not make it there, either. And it wouldn't exactly be shocking if Zack Greinke (another potential 2012-13 free agent) stays in Milwaukee.

The 2012-13 class was never going to match this winter's class. There wasn't a Fielder, and there wasn't a Pujols. There wasn't a Verlander or a Felix, two ace starters who would have been free agents this winter if they hadn't signed long-term deals with their own teams.

With Kemp and Weaver, though, the class would have featured a potential MVP and a potential Cy Young winner.

Without them, it just doesn't look as good.

Posted on: October 4, 2011 8:21 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 10:52 pm

Game 3 concerned Phils, but they win it

ST. LOUIS -- This was the game the Phillies were concerned about.

They knew the numbers. They knew Jaime Garcia has dominated them. They knew that basically every hitter they would send to the plate has terrible career numbers against the young Cardinals left-hander.

Hey, numbers aren't everything.

Ben Francisco was 1-for-9 against Garcia when Charlie Manuel sent him up to pinch hit in the seventh inning (and, according to baseball-reference.com, the hit was an infield single). Now he's 2-for-10, and the second hit was a three-run home run that gave the Phillies a 3-2 Game 3 win and turned this series decidedly in their favor.

Garcia was very good again Tuesday. Before Francisco's home run, the Phillies had just four hits, all of them singles, in 6 2/3 scoreless innings. But an inning that began with a Shane Victorino single took a bad turn for the Cardinals when a two-out Yadier Molina passed ball led to a Tony La Russa intentional walk of Carlos Ruiz.

That brought Francisco to hit for Cole Hamels, who had already thrown 117 pitches in six shutout innings. Francisco had just the one hit off Garcia, but he did have a long fly ball against him, a couple of weeks back in Philadelphia.

"I almost hit one out, hit it to the wall," Francisco said. "That night, I wanted that pitch back."

This time, Garcia wanted it back, after it turned into the home run that changed the game.

It did not win the game, simply because the Phillies still had nine outs to get, and their bullpen is a huge postseason question.

With the help of Vance Worley (a regular-season starter), and with Ryan Madson's first five-out save since 2009 (and just his third ever), the Phillies got the job done in this game.

They've gotten past the dangerous Garcia, who had them so nervous, and they're one win away from qualifying for their fourth straight National League Championship Series.

And now the pitching matchups seem to be in their favor.

Roy Oswalt goes against Edwin Jackson in Wednesday's Game 4. And even if the Cardinals win that one, the Phillies feel ultra-confident with Roy Halladay ready (against Chris Carpenter) in a potential Game 5 back in Philadelphia.

This was the game that really worried them, the game that had turned this series into such a worry.

No thanks to the numbers, they won it.

Posted on: June 30, 2011 6:32 pm

Phils prove to us (or remind us) they can pitch

PHILADELPHIA -- Three games don't tell us whether the Phillies are the best team in baseball.

But 27 games helped remind us why the Phillies are the best team in the National League.

The Phillies didn't prove much by winning two of three from a Red Sox team that has hit what seems to be a small midseason bump in the road. But the Phillies proved plenty by the way they won as many games as any team in the league in June.

No, proved isn't the right word -- what the Phillies did in June reminded us what we already knew, which is that their starting rotation is what makes them great.

Even with Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton on the disabled list, Phillies starters finished the month with a 1.96 combined ERA. According to Stats, Inc., it's the first time any big-league rotation has gone a full month with a sub-2.00 ERA since July 1992, when both the Braves (with John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Steve Avery) and the Cubs (with Greg Maddux) did it.

What's more, the top three Phillies starters -- Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels -- went 12-2 with a 1.13 ERA in June. Lee threw his third consecutive shutout to beat the Red Sox Tuesday night, and Hamels shut out the Sox for four innings before an Adrian Gonzalez line drive hit his right hand and ended his day early Thursday.

The Red Sox aren't hitting the way they did through May and into early June, and they lost series to the Padres and Pirates before losing two of three in Philadelphia. They'd lost six of seven before beating the Phillies 5-2 on Thursday, but this six of seven feels nothing like the 0-6 and 2-10 start to the season.

The Sox will get Carl Crawford back next week, and general manager Theo Epstein admitted this week that he may feel the need to trade for another hitter. But Epstein showed no great sense of concern when someone mentioned to him that the Yankees had moved into first place in the American League East (not that he should have).

"I thought it would be close all year," he said. "Except for when we were tripping all over ourselves early, it has been."

The NL East hasn't been as close, in part because the Braves haven't proved as formidable an opponent for the Phillies that the Yankees have for the Red Sox, but also because the Phillies' rotation has been so good that they haven't yet had a 1-6 stretch, let alone two of them.

Even so, manager Charlie Manuel keeps insisting that the hitting will be better in the second half (and also keeps suggesting that the Phillies should make a move to acquire another bat).

"People say the pitching will be there every night," Manuel said. "Well, not necessarily."

It has been there just about every night for the Phillies, even with the injuries. In the middle game of the Red Sox series, the Phillies went from Vance Worley to Michael Stutes to Antonio Bastardo -- and still beat the Sox, 2-1.

The Phils, as Manuel said after Hamels' injury scare, can't really afford to lose another starter. But as long as they can keep running Halladay, Lee and Hamels out there in three of every five games (and with Oswalt and Blanton possibly on the way back), it's easy to see this team repeating it's 51-30 first half, and thus topping 100 wins.

"It's fun to watch them go out and operate," first baseman Ryan Howard said. "They give us the opportunity."

The Phillies scored fewer runs in June than the Cubs did. They scored exactly the same number of runs in June that the Nationals did.

Their pitching carried them to a 17-10 month, and their pitching has carried them into first place.

Their pitching helped them win two of three in an interesting but ultimately not too important midseason matchup with the team that might be tops in the American League.

They're not really proving anything we didn't already know. But they sure are reminding us.

Posted on: June 30, 2011 2:17 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 6:03 pm

Hamels gets scare with line drive to hand

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies starter Cole Hamels left Thursday's start against the Red Sox after just four innings, after taking an Adrian Gonzalez line drive off his right (non-pitching) hand.

X-rays were negative, and the Phillies quickly announced that Hamels should be able to make his next start. General manager Ruben Amaro later told reporters that there is some chance Hamels will miss a start, but in any case the injury doesn't seem to be serious.

"We don't need to lose any pitchers," manager Charlie Manuel said. "That, we definitely do not need to do."

The Gonzalez liner hit Hamels at the base of his right thumb, and Manuel said the hand quickly began swelling. The ball knocked Hamels' glove off his hand, but he was able to recover in time to throw Gonzalez out at first. Hamels stayed in the game and retired Dustin Pedroia to end the inning, but Manuel sent David Herndon to the mound to start the fifth.

Hamels allowed just two hits in four scoreless innings before leaving the game, lowering his ERA for the season to 2.41, third in the National League behind Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens (2.07) and Philllies teammate Roy Halladay (2.40). Since giving up six runs to the Mets in his first start of the season, Hamels has a 1.98 ERA in 113 1/3 innings.

The Phillies already have two starters (Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton) on the disabled list. Oswalt, who is headed to Texas to get a second opinion on his back injury, expressed some optimism Thursday that he'll be able to return.

"If the second opinion is the same as the first, it's a matter of deciding which of two possible shots to get," Oswalt said.

Oswalt said that when he had similar trouble in 2009, a shot enabled him to return to the mound. But he also said, "I can't pitch the way I am right now."

Blanton remains on the DL with an elbow injury.

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 3, 2011 8:47 pm

3 to watch: The fourth starter fallacy edition

We talk about rotations as if they match up one-against-one, ace against ace, No. 5 starter vs. No. 5 starter.

But they don't.

Not even in the first week of the season.

You know how many opening day starters are going to face off against another opening day starter in their second start? Only 16 out of 30.

Barely half of them.

The schedules don't always match up. Rainouts get in the way. Guys get hurt. Some teams are skipping the fifth starter this week, some aren't.

So instead of CC Sabathia against Carl Pavano, you've got Sabathia vs. Brian Duensing. Instead of Josh Johnson against Livan Hernandez, you've got Johnson vs. John Lannan. And so on.

And that's just for the second start of the year. By the end of the month, the chances that one team's ace will match up against another's will basically be the same as the chances he matches up against the No. 5 starter.

That's how the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo could have the fifth-best run support in baseball last year, even though he started on opening day. The Brewers didn't score all those runs off other teams' aces.

That's how CC Sabathia could have the second-best run support among Yankee starters last year.

So if you're one of those saying Cole Hamels is going to have a great year because he's the Phillies' fourth starter, I'm going to disagree. I don't doubt Hamels will have a great year, but it won't be because he's going to have it easier than if he had started one of the first three games of the season.

Hamels will face Mets fourth starter Chris Young on Tuesday night, in the season debut for both pitchers. And maybe that's why I didn't include that game on this week's 3 to watch:

1. Josh Beckett was an opening day starter last year, and the year before that (and for three years with the Marlins, too). So is he a No. 4 starter, now that he's starting the fourth game of the season, in Red Sox at Indians, Tuesday night (7:05 ET) at Progressive Field ? Beckett had a poor 2010 season and a poor 2011 spring training, but now the Red Sox hope he can deliver them their first win, after a season-opening sweep in Texas. Teams do rebound after beginning a season 0-3. Six 0-3 teams in just the last 20 years have gone on to win a division title, most notably the 1998 Yankees who began 0-3, then won 114 of their next 159 games. Even 0-4 teams aren't dead. The 1999 Diamondbacks began 0-4 and went on to 100 wins. The 1995 Reds won their division despite starting 0-6, but they did it with just 85 wins. You can bet it will take more than 85 to win the American League East this year.

2. In three games started by Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz (combined career record: 206-129), the Rangers hit 11 home runs and scored 26 runs. Now the Rangers face a fascinating trio of Mariner pitchers, beginning with Erik Bedard (first start since July 25, 2009), continuing with Michael Pineda (major-league debut) in Mariners at Rangers, Tuesday night (8:05 ET) at Rangers Ballpark , and continuing with Felix Hernandez (2010 Cy Young winner) in Wednesday's daytime series finale. The 21-year-old Pineda's debut has been much anticipated, as he is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. It's an interesting matchup, too, because Rangers right-hander Alexi Ogando will be making his first big-league start.

3. Three games in, we know that the Orioles rotation has pitched 20 innings while allowing just one run on six hits. What we don't yet know is if that means that the Orioles young starters are ready to shine, or whether Rays (without Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena, and with Evan Longoria getting hurt) are going to be a bad offensive team. We should know a little more by the time Chris Tillman makes his second start, in Tigers at Orioles, Thursday night (7:05 ET) at Camden Yards . Tillman is the guy who held the Rays hitless for six innings on Saturday, getting pulled from the game because he had thrown 101 pitches. No matter how this week goes, it's safe to say the Orioles pitching doesn't get talked about enough. Some scouts in Florida this spring said the O's Zach Britton is even better than the Yankees' Manuel Banuelos, but it was Banuelos who got all the attention.

Posted on: September 19, 2010 9:23 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 6:03 pm

3 to watch: The Philly dilemma edition

Three games back of the Phillies in the National League East, the best thing the Braves have going for them is six remaining head-to-head meetings with the Phils, starting with a series that begins Monday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Two and a half games ahead of the Padres in the NL wild-card race, the biggest thing the Braves have going against them is that they play six of their final 12 games against the league's best team -- the Phillies.

"It is tougher," Chipper Jones said. "But I don't think we'd want it any other way."

One reason, of course, is that the Braves would like to think that they can still win the East. To win the East now, they need for the Phillies to lose. The best way to guarantee that the Phillies lose is to beat them yourself.

The other reason is that the Braves actually have a winning record against the Phillies over the last two years. They went 10-8 last season, and they're 7-5 so far this year.

"The one thing we have done really well the last couple of years is play well against the Phillies," Jones said. "And we're going to have to. They're the best team in the National League, and for some reason, we get sky-high to play them.

"To beat them, we need to play a near-perfect game."

But to make the playoffs, the Braves don't need to finish ahead of the Phillies. They just need to win the wild card -- although that might necessitate beating the Phillies a few times.

"Now we can't split hairs," club president John Schuerholz said. "Now it's about getting to the playoffs."

But still, Schuerholz said he doesn't mind it that half of the Braves' remaining schedule features the Phils (with other six games against the Nationals and Marlins).

"It might be the energy level we need," he said. "They will be energized games."

And they're leading off this week's edition of 3 to watch (which doesn't include the Rangers, Twins or Reds, even though all three could clinch their divisions in the next few days:

1. The Phillies were easily able to adjust their rotation, so that the Braves will face Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt, maybe the closest thing we've seen to a true Big Three since the days of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. The Braves would have had a harder time making similar adjustments, and thus ace Tim Hudson won't pitch in this series. The Braves planned to start off with Jair Jurrjens, in Braves at Phillies, Monday night (7:05 ET) at Citizens Bank Park , but Jurrjens hurt his right knee in a bullpen session last Friday in New York. So 24-year-old Brandon Beachy, who was in Florida with the Braves' instructional league team, will get the start and make his major-league debut. Rookie Mike Minor and young Tommy Hanson are the other two Braves starters this week. The Phillies' Big Three would be lined up again to pitch in the final three regular-season games in Atlanta, although if the Phils have wrapped up the division by then, there's a chance they wouldn't all pitch.

2. Elsewhere on this site , I made what I thought was a reasoned but traditional case for Felix Hernandez as the American League's Cy Young leader. Hernandez could help his own case considerably with a big performance in Mariners at Blue Jays, Thursday afternoon (12:37 ET) at the Rogers Centre . The Jays have hit a major-league high 128 home runs in 69 home games (nearly two a game), and they average more than five runs a game at home. Hernandez hasn't faced the Blue Jays yet this year. Neither has CC Sabathia, who never lined up with any of the Yankees' first five series against the Jays (but figures to pitch in Toronto during the Yankees Sept. 27-29 visit).

3. First, Sabathia has a rematch with Tampa Bay's David Price, and if it's anything like their last game, it might be the 1 to watch this week. The first time around, a week ago in Florida, Sabathia and Price combined for 16 scoreless innings (eight apiece), while allowing just five hits (three of them off Price). They hook up again in Rays at Yankees, Thursday night (7:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium , and by the time it's over, we should have a better idea of who wins the American League East (and who's the AL wild card), and also of who is the leading threat to Hernandez's chance to win the Cy Young.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com