Cole Hamels: 7 Massive Effects of Not Re-Signing with Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies and Cole Hamels began contract negotiations before the season began, and they have not been able to come to an agreement about a new deal for Hamels as he gets closer and closer to becoming a free agent.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports now believes that it would be an "upset" if Hamels wound up in a Phillies jersey next season. The Phillies are likely going to continue working to re-sign Hamels, but they may end up seeing him sign somewhere else.
Losing a pitcher of Hamels' caliber always has major implications. The Phillies will certainly be affected, and there will also be a ripple effect throughout the National League East. Whichever team signs Hamels will immediately improve and could turn themselves into division or World Series favorites.
The Phillies Need to Make a Move
If Cole Hamels does not re-sign with the Philadelphia Phillies then the team will likely look to find a replacement for him in their starting rotation. This will obviously not be an easy task as Hamels is one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Zack Greinke will also be a free agent following the 2012 season, but the Phillies might not be willing to pay him the money that he wants. The Phillies could try to pursue a free agent such as Shaun Marcum this winter to fill the hole in their rotation.
Shane Victorino Becomes the Phillies' Top Priority
The Philadelphia Phillies cannot afford to lose both Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino during the 2013 offseason. This would be a massive blow to the Phillies.
If it appears that Hamels will not be returning to Philadelphia, then the Phillies might turn all of their attention to Victorino. Losing both Hamels and Victorino means that the Phillies will seriously need to reevaluate their approach for the 2013 season.
The Phillies Might Make a Few Trades
Six of the eight players in the Philadelphia Phillies starting lineup are over the age of 30 years old, and when Chase Utley returns, that number will increase to seven. The Phillies are looking like an aging team.
It is possible that the Phillies will try to trade away a number of their older players this season if Cole Hamels does not re-sign with them. The Phillies could try to bring in young talent that can help right away and give players like Domonic Brown a lot of playing time in 2013.
The Balance of Power in the National League East Shifts
It already appears as if there has been a change in the balance of power in the National League East with the Washington Nationals in first place and the Philadelphia Phillies mired in last. The Phillies should turn things around at some point this year, but they may not make the playoffs.
Washington would have a big chance to gain control of the National League East if Cole Hamels leaves the Phillies. They will still have to deal with the Miami Marlins, Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, but the Nationals will have a chance to start a long run of playoff appearances.
Are the Dodgers the National League's Best Team If They Sign Hamels?
One team that will be going after Cole Hamels hard if he hits free agency is the Los Angeles Dodgers. There are a number of reasons why the team is interested in him and why they could be able to sign him.
Facing a one-two of Clayton Kershaw and Hamels would be absolutely devastating to opposing teams. There is a good chance that signing Hamels would make the Dodgers the best team in the National League, but that will all depend on how the rest of the offseason ends up shaking out.
Could the Yankees and Red Sox Get into a Bidding War for Hamels?
Both the Yankees and Red Sox are in on almost every big free agent so they could each decide to go after Hamels and get involved in a bidding war. Each team may see that their window of opportunity is beginning to close and that signing Hamels would help lead them to a World Series or two within the next few years.
Zack Greinke Becomes More Coveted
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports interviewed three agents about Hamels, and they believed that he could get at least $150 million if he becomes a free agent this winter. A contract like this will certainly have implications on the free agent market.
Other pitchers such as Zack Greinke will want more money in their own deals, but they will also come at a more reasonable price than Hamels. More teams may pursue Greinke because his price tag will likely be lower.