According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the SF Giants are said to be one of the teams to express “preliminary interest” in a veteran left-handed hurler.
The market for Cole Hamels is beginning to take shape, and the interest in the southpaw is not surprising as SF Giants general manager Scott Harris indicated on Tuesday that they were targeting left-handed starting pitching.
Hamels was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round of the 2002 draft out of San Diego, California. He debuted with the Phillies in 2006 where he registered a 9-8 overall record, 4.08 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 1.25 WHIP, and a 3.02 SO/W ratio in 132.1 innings.
Since 2006, the 37-year-old has strung together an impressive career including 163 wins, 3.43 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, and a 3.34 SO/W ratio while earning three all-star selections and finishing in the top-ten in Cy Young voting in four different seasons.
Hamels latched on with the Atlanta Braves for the 2020 season but battled nagging triceps and shoulder problems. He only made one appearance in which he yielded three earned runs across 3.1 frames.
Not much can be taken from his injury-plagued 2020 season, but Hamels did post a 3.81 ERA as recently as 2019, so there might still be plenty in the tank left.
Given his career accomplishments, Hamels does not fit the description of the type of reclamation project that the Giants tend to target, but he likely can be reeled in on a one-year, pillow contract due to his age and recent injury history.
The Giants are definitely in need of more left-handed pitching in the starting rotation. Currently, they have four righties in Johnny Cueto, Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani, and Logan Webb slated to round out the first four spots in the rotation. Furthermore, they do not have any lefty on the 40-man roster with extensive experience as a starter except for Conner Menez and Caleb Barager, but both were used primarily out of the bullpen in 2020.
Since Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris have taken over the Giants’ front office, they have sought balance in the rotation. The current iteration of the rotation has no balance, but targeting a pitcher like Hamels will help in that regard. More than likely, they will need to bring in multiple southpaws to give them rotation depth.
Interestingly, Harris was a Chicago Cubs assistant general manager when they acquired Hamels down the stretch in 2018, so there is a prior connection with the front office and the lefty.
With five weeks remaining before Spring Training, the Giants still have a lot of work to do on the rotation. It would not be surprising to see them connected to many of the remaining left-handed starters on the market in the coming weeks as that is still a major area of need.