Who Are the Phillies Options After Cole Hamels Signed with the Dodgers?

Phillies Cole Hamels
30 June 2015: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) winds up to pitch during the MLB game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Philadelphia Phillies played at the Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA

Just days after Phillies nation celebrated the return of Freddy Galvis, the news of Cole Hamels signing in Los Angeles serves as a cruel reminder – some things are a bit too blue to be true.

Although undoubtedly a fan-favorite rivaled by the likes of Nick Foles or Allen Iverson (I stand by that take), it remains to be seen if the Phillies truly missed out on their fifth starter.

When you remove your nostalgia goggles, the reality is that the California product has not pitched in the Majors since September of last year and with little success.

In his first and only appearance of 2020, he lasted just 3.1 innings before landing on the IL with shoulder fatigue. This all after signing a one-year, $18MM contract.

And even with a recent contract that’s a bit more modest, to to the tune of one year, $1MM, with incentives on the table, it’s hard to say how much the former World Series MVP has left in the tank.

Regardless, as the former Phil gets settled in Tinsletown, Joe Girardi’s in-house alternatives have left much to be desired. So let’s look at a few options to pitch every fifth day for this ‘just-better-than-.500’ ballclub.

Ranger Suárez

Assuming Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Kyle Gibson, and, eventually, Zach Eflin represent the meat of the rotation, Suárez will probably be the guy to round things out.

He showed promise recently stepping in against the Washington Nationals, pitching three hitless innings. If you believe Giradi, you’d expect to see Suárez gradually go deeper and deeper into games.

If the Venezuelan native can maintain his 0.83 WHIP across 5+ innings, the memory of Hamels will fade with the summer tan. Not to mention, batters just aren’t making good contact, averaging an exit velocity of just 78.2 mph. That’s best for the top 92% of the MLB.

That said, I wouldn’t blame you for being nervous. Did someone say, Spencer Howard?

Chase Anderson

Suppose you’ve been disappointed by Matt Moore; it’s because you forgot about Anderson. After signing a one-year deal worth $4MM, Anderson’s made just fourteen appearances on the year, nine of them starts.

Now with Vince Velasquez and Eflin landing on the IL, the Phillies don’t have many options.

When you have no choice but to go with a pitcher who’s allowing 1.4 HR/9 (and never going deeper than 5+ innings), something went wrong.

Vince Velasquez


Bailey Falter

This one almost already happened (subscription required, plebes), but Falter hit the COVID-19 list.

In 18.0 innings this season, Falter’s 21/1 K/B ratio has made him a darling of an otherwise mediocre (that’s being nice) bullpen. He doesn’t walk many batters either.

Throughout his time in the Minors, Falter’s BB/9 is just 1.8 compared to a K/9 of 8.5. That’s something the Phillies could use.

Following Anderson’s shaky return against the Nationals, we could see Falter join the rotation at some point in August, pending his rehab.

Other Free Agents?

Jeff Samardzija and Rick Porcello are a couple of intriguing names sitting out there. Hamels just set the market for veteran help, and you could probably get either of them on the cheap. Just talking options, people.

Photo Credit: Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire