While reports surfaced early in the day about the Dodgers signing lefty pitcher Cole Hamels to a contract though the remainder of the 2021 season, the team made the move official with an announcement late Wednesday afternoon.
To clear space on the 40-man roster, the club designated righty pitcher Yefry Ramirez for assignment.
The announcement didn’t reveal dollar figures, but the deal will guarantee Hamels a prorated $1 million for the rest of this season and will tack on $200,000 in incentives for each start, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Three weeks ago, the Dodgers were among several teams in attendance when the 37-year-old Hamels held a pitching showcase in Texas.
In 2020, Hamels singed with the Braves for a one-year, $18 million deal, but injuries kept him off the field for all but one game. Dealing with shoulder issues during spring training, Hamels eventually began his year on the injured list with a triceps issue. He attempted to return later in the season, but another shoulder problem in mid-September ended up shutting him down for the year.
As explained by Anthony Franco at MLBTR, “Hamels was a paragon of durability before 2020, tossing at least 130 innings in every season between 2006 and 2019. He was also a model of consistency, never posting an ERA higher than 4.32 and allowing fewer than four earned runs per nine innings in eleven of those fourteen campaigns. He was still effective as recently as 2019, when he tossed 141-2/3 innings of 3.81 ERA ball with solid strikeout and walk rates with the Cubs.”
Over the course of his 15-year big-league career, Hamels owns a 163-122 record with a 3.43 ERA, a 3.68 FIP, and a 1.178 WHIP with 2560 strikeouts and 767 walks over an even 2698 innings of work. 422 of his 423 lifetime regular-season appearances have been starts.
Hamels spent his first 10 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, the team that drafted him in the first round out of Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego in 2002.
Primarily, Hamels uses a four-seam, a cutter, a curve, and a change as part of his repertoire. After his heater sat in the 92-93 mph range in 2020, he topped out at just 89 mph in the 3-1/3 innings he threw for Atlanta last summer.
Despite not having big league experience in relief, it seems as if the Dodgers might plan using Hamels out of the bullpen. At this point it’s unclear how long it will take the veteran lefty to prepare, but if he’ll be throwing as a reliever, the time certainly could be minimized.