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Cole Hamels

Philadelphia Phillies 2013 season preview

Phillies’ fans would like to forget about last season, to say the least. In 2012 we saw Philadelphia’s five year reign as NL East division champions and perennial World Series contenders come to a screeching halt, as they failed to live up to the lofty expectations of a team coming off a franchise best 102 win season and a $170 million dollar payroll. Knowing they wouldn’t make the playoffs, the Phillies jettisoned Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, Jim Thome and Joe Blanton off in separate trades throughout the summer, cutting payroll and doing an adequate job in restoring their barren minor league system with talents that may contribute in the future (Tommy Joseph, Kyle Simon, Ethan Martin).
Jonah Keri from has made the argument to General Manager Ruben Amaro to blow up the team and start all over. Instead, the Phillies have opted to retool with an old, beat-up roster and give it one last go around.… Read more...

Trade Analysis: How Cole Hamels Signing Changes the Trade Market

Philadelphia Phillies get: SP Cole Hamels, six years, $144 million dollars

Cole Hamels signed up for six more years with the only team he’s played for earlier today. It was the second biggest contract in terms of dollars ever shelled out to a pitcher. After all the gushing things he had to say about the Phillies and their fans, it is probably safe to assume that he’s off the market. That means that the 19 teams that are competing for either the Wild Card or the division right now need to turn their attention elsewhere.

What it doesn’t mean though is that the Phillies are going to make a run.

Signing Hamels was more of a move to ensure that he never had to deal with the temptation of free agency. He is 28 years old, won a World Series MVP (and NLCS MVP that same year), throws left-handed, has the 9th best active ERA, and 3rd best active WHIP. Dude can pitch and has done so every year of his career. If he hit the open market, he could get as much as Josh Hamilton or any other player this winter.

That said, the Phillies now have a huge imbalance at the top of their payroll. Hamels is going to make an average of $24 million per season during this contract. Next year, Roy Halladay ($20 million) and Cliff Lee ($25 million) will combine with Hamels to make more money than the entire payrolls of six different teams. When you factor in a deteriorating 33-year-old Ryan Howard at $20 million, the team’s payroll is over the league median. Include Jonathan Papelbon, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins who all make more than $10 million and you have seven players that will make over $120 million. And then there are still 18 slots to fill. Usually that’s where a minor league roster comes in to play, but according to Baseball America the Phillies had the 27th best system coming into this season. Having said all of that, the Phillies need to get younger and cheaper.

Shane Victorino needs to be traded before July 31st. The thin trade market gives him extra value and the CBA just makes it look like bad business for the Phillies not to deal him. The same can be said of Hunter Pence who isn’t a free agent after the year, but might as well be given that he will need a deal well over $10 million in his final year of arbitration and the fact that the Phils might not be able to afford him in the winter of 2013. These players should be moved along with other smaller pieces such as Placido Polanco and Joe Blaton from the Phillies, but the Hamels signing impacts nobody more than Zack Greinke.

Since 2010, only 14 pitchers have had a better wins above replacement players than Hamels; Greinke is one of them. He is an obvious number one starter and as far as impacting a race or in the case of a team like the Yankees that is already in the playoffs, nobody would make more of an impact. Of course the Bombers aren’t thought to be interested because of Greinke’s well-documented battle with social anxiety disorder, but that isn’t stopping seven other teams from being interested. Hamels being off the market should give Milwaukee more leverage in a potential deal, and also give Greinke leverage should that team try to resign him. Greinke is only a year older than Hamels and because he could go to the open market, his deal will more than likely become the third biggest contract ever signed by a pitcher.

From here, the dominoes continue to fall: when six of those seven teams strikeout from their pursuit of Greinke, the door will open to players like Ryan Dempster (Atlanta isn’t out yet), Josh Johnson, Matt Garza, Francisco Liriano, and even James Shields. All of them wi… Read more...

Cole Hamels Proves that Baseball Sucks

Yesterday, Major League Baseball announced a 5-game suspension for Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels as punishment for intentionally throwing at Washington Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper.

The beaning occurred on Sunday, so after the past 2 days, this is old news. But forgive me for saying it again:

Cole Hamels INTENTIONALLY threw a 5-ounce object with a hard rubber center 93 miles per hour at Bryce Harper. That’s called assault and battery. (In D.C., the lowest degree of the offense, “simple assault,” would result in Hamels facing up to 6 months in prison.) But since in occurred within the confines of a MLB stadium, then the going rate is 1 missed start and about 500 large in penalties.

Now if 2 days transpiring between the play and this post makes it old news, I guess the weeks-old story of NFL players and coaches being suspended for much larger amounts of time has escaped our subconscious.

“I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it. […] They’re probably not going to like me for it, but I’m not going to say that I wasn’t trying to do it. I think they understood the message.”

“We’ve got to do everything in the world to kill Frank Gore’s head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways.”
-former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams

The NFL has long been a sport that has sanctioned violence. And regardless of the fact that they have been snail-slow at making necessary changes to a sport that obliterates its’ employees’ quality of life, the harsh suspensions of Williams and Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, among others, were met with approval from the vast majority of fans, save for those in the Bayou. Take away the bounty program, rich with “intent,” and the sport is still violent enough to hand down suspensions and fines for what used to be legal hits. Insert the bounty program, and the sport becomes a forbidden sanctuary for anybody’s future children. (Your choice if you want to have your kid end up like Junior Seau.)

Baseball is different. Players oftentimes play well into their late 30s and early 40s because physical contact with another human being is rare. Players actually go on to the disabled list for being sad. But just because the guys on the diamond don’t regularly produce violent acts, all in the name of competition, doesn’t mean that this should be swept under the rug.

Hamels exhibited decent control of his 93 mph fastball, drilling his intended victim in the small of the back. But last time I checked, even the best location masters on the mound can throw a wild pitch or two at any given moment. Maybe the ball slips, maybe it’s a little wet from some raindrops, or maybe the pitcher’s delivery breaks its mechanics. If Hamels didn’t have control of that fastball, what happens if Harper gets drilled in the head? What happens if Harper takes it in the eyes? Surely, the only guarantee in that scenario would be Hamels keeping his mouth shut.

And don’t give me any of that noise about Hamels being a man’s man. I’m taking sides with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who called Hamels “fake tough.” For instance, take a look at this A-Rod-esque photo:

If you’re a purist, and you subscribe to the notion that the Nationals let “baseball take care of it” by plunking Hamels in retaliation, then you’re crazy. Hammurabi’s Code expired in our laws long, l… Read more...

2013 Free Agency for the newly-bought LA Dodgers

We can’t wipe the smiles off our faces over here at MAMBINO. The reign of Frank McCourt has come to it’s unofficial end, with the paperwork ready to be drawn up and stamped. We will all breathe easier knowing that the autocratic rule of one of the most disgraced owners in professional sports will soon be a but a bad memory. I’ve truly never wanted to move past anything more than this, ex-girlfriends included.

That last sentence obviously was untrue.

For weeks this winter, the chatter on the interweb was that the Dodgers were secretly in the running for first baseman Prince Fielder, a power-hitting whale (of a human), whose massive presence both on the field and in the line-up was the exact addition LA so desperately needed. The offer never turned into anything more than that, sadly, as Fielder and his agent Scott Boras signed a massive 9-year, $214 million dollar deal with the Detroit Tigers, a deal that I don’t necessarily think makes the Tigers into a title contender. Nevertheless, Prince is now a Tiger, and my dreams of a make-good 1-year deal is off the table.

As we stated in our 2012 Dodgers Preview, the team just can’t be considered a contender this year. They face deficits in their starting rotation, every infield position and at least 1 corner outfield spot. Playoffs are simply out of the question for this October. Except for aiming at a .500 record retaining our dignity, the 2012 season will largely be the Dodgers’ front office holding a 162-game audition for the 2013 edition of the boys in blue. GM Ned Colleti and company will see which players would be able to impact a championship-caliber team going forward, and which men should be sold off for prospects and future considerations.

That all being said, let’s look towards winter 2012-2013, when the Dodgers will ride Guggenheim Partners checkbook in landing the big players on the free agent market. Mark Walter, Stan Kasten, and of course, Magic Johnson know they have to make a big national splash, one that says “THE DODGERS ARE BACK”, which will sadly be the next major LA marketing campaign (just envision that Billboard on the 10 Freeway – I’d put even odds on it happening).

Who will the free agents be? Who will be the next Los Angeles Dodger? Here is the list of 2013 free agents so far, courtesy of MAMBINO-approved superblog From it, we’ve cherry-picked the very best free agents that the new and improved Los Angeles Dodgers will most likely be after:

1). Cole Hamels, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies
With a bullet. The fastest bullet that’s ever existed. Like, one of those talking bullets from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” One of those.

His deal: Cole Hamels is going to be, without a doubt, the most sought-after free agent on the market. He’s one of the 10 best pitchers in the league (CC-Verlander-Halladay-Felix-Clayton-Cliff Lee-Lincecum-Weaver-Wainwright-Hamels? Challenge!) and everyone is going to be after him. I’d say the likely suitors are the Phillies, Yankees (just because), Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Texas, Chicago Cubs and the Dodgers.

Why the Dodgers want him: Because he’s one of the 10 best pitchers in the league. LA has a rotation of guys that are chock full of 3, 4 and 5 starting pitchers, rather than a potential 1 or 2 type of guy. NL Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw has finally come into the ace we all thought he’d be one day, but behind him are guys like Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly. Cole Hamels would give the Dodgers a 1-2 … Read more...