Phillies lefty ace Cole Hamels turns 31 years old today. He has pitched in the better part of 9 big league seasons now. He has never suffered any serious injury. In short, Cole Hamels is in his prime.
Taken by the Phils with the 17th overall pick in the 2002 MLB Draft, Hamels reached the Majors 4 years later at age 22.
In those ensuing 9 seasons, Hamels has put together a remarkable record. He is 108-83 with a 3.27 ERA and 1.142 WHIP for his career.
Perhaps just as importantly as his excellence, he has been healthy and dominant. He has pitched 1,801.1 innings with a 1,707-453 K/BB ratio.
Hamels has exceeded the 180 innings pitched mark in every one of his 8 full seasons, and has gone over the 200 inning mark in 7 of the 8 years. In the year he missed, he threw 193.2 innings.
The lefty is currently working with a 7-year, $159 million contract that began running in 2012. It takes him through the 2018 season at $23.5 million per year, with a 2019 option for $20 million more.
In today’s MLB world, in what has become an $8+ billion industry, and where cost certainty is cherished by all organizations, Hamels contract is absolutely in line with his age, experience, record, talent, and health.
After almost 13 years, will this be Cole Hamels final birthday celebrated as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies organization?
Only time will tell on that count. But one thing is certain: Hamels clearly is still in his prime. Signed for 4-5 more years, years which his history suggests he should remain elite, he should be dealt only if the return is also prime.