Philadelphia Phillies: Cole Hamels Responsible for Phils' Coming Roster Purge

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Philadelphia Phillies: Cole Hamels Responsible for Phils' Coming Roster Purge
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Unfortunately for the Phillies, Hamels has hurt them far more than he has helped.

Cole Hamels is getting a pass from Philadelphia Phillies fans—and the city's media—for his horrible pitching this season.

That stops now.

The Phillies are exactly halfway through their season after a 16-1 thrashing of the Los Angeles Dodgers. They won 39 of their first 81 games are 6.5 games out of a wild-card playoff spot.

For his part, Cole Hamels is 2-11 with an earned run average over 4.50 and a 1.30 WHIP.

Those numbers actually flatter Hamels if you take into consideration what the Phillies are paying him to throw the ball every five days, not to mention how the 2013 team's fate was placed to a large degree on his left arm.

Think about the team's outlook back in spring training.

Everyone knew Roy Halladay was, at best, a big question mark and at worst damaged goods. We know now how that turned out. Regardless, counting on Halladay to win double-digit games after the spotty 2012 season he posted was never going to work.

Other than losing Halladay, though, the "back of the baseball card" premise has largely borne out for the Phillies—with the glaring exception of Hamels. That is, most of the Phillies have done more or less what could have been expected of them.

Ben Revere, after a pretty wretched start, is now hitting .280 with 20 stolen bases. Michael Young is hitting .289 after pulling himself out of a terrible slump.

Ryan Howard has hit 10 home runs and driven in 41 while fighting through nagging injuries. Chase Utley missed almost a month, but in his 52 games played, he has hit .281 with an .844 OPS and nine home runs.

And those are just the dossiers of the Phillies who have performed about as expected. 

Denis Poroy/Getty Images
It is tough to imagine where the Phillies would be if Domonic Brown had not broken out this season.

Some Phils have overachieved wildly.

So the Phillies are no longer the offensive juggernaut that terrorized the National League from 2007-2011. They are below average, ninth out of 15 teams in the National League. 

You know who's in 10th place in offense in the National League? The 49-30 Pittsburgh Pirates, that's who.

While the Pirates are patching a capable pitching staff together with the likes of Jason Grilli, Mark Melancon and Jeff Locke, the Phillies are paying Hamels almost $20 million to go 3-14 in games he starts.

On a few occasions, the Phillies' bats let Hamels down, but that happens to every starting pitcher.

The position players have had little to do with Hamels' nondescript June, when he went 1-2 against a punchless slate that included the New York Mets, Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins—all below-average offenses in their own rights.

And if you reach back to May 31, you can drag in Hamels' stink bomb against the Milwaukee Brewers, when Hamels gave up 12 hits and six earned runs in five innings to fall to 1-9.

The saddest part of all of this is that many of Hamels' teammates are exceedingly likely to pay for his sins.

CBS Sports' Peter Gammons and FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal are just two of the prominent pundits suggesting that the likes of Utley, Young, Jonathan Papelbon and even ace Cliff Lee may go at or before the trade deadline as the Phillies fall further out of contention.

Hamels, of course, is going nowhere. It is hard to get a great return on a 2-11 pitcher with five years and $112.5 million left on his contract.

Think of it this way: Had Hamels just been around .500 in the first half, say, 6-7 instead of 2-11, the Phillies would be 43-38 and in serious contention for a wild-card spot.

Instead, the team appears headed for a fire sale.

Maybe it is harsh to put all the blame on Hamels for the train wreck that has been the Phillies' 2013 season.

But he's a really good place to start. 

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