Wheeler, Hamels, Bundy Calling the Moving Vans

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 Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on Wednesday, December 4.  As I write this just after 4 PM in the east, today has featured more moving pitchers than you’ll see in a multiplex! lol  Zach Wheeler is no longer a Met, the former Oriole Dylan Bundy is heading across the continent while Cole Hamels comes east and south to probably end his career. 

  The earliest bulletin I saw today featured Cole Hamels. He’ll turn 36 just after Christmas and may see a move to a contender as an early gift. His last team, the Cubs went nowhere while he was there, costing their former genius manager Joe Madden his job.   Earlier today Hamels signed a one-year deal with the Braves for 18 million dollars. 

  As he approaches his 36th birthday, the Braves can’t expect to get the Hamels who pitched a

no-hitter in his last start with the Phillies in 2015. It was the first no-hitter against the Cubs since Sandy Koufax’s perfecto 50 years earlier.  Before that, Hamels won both the NLCS and World Series MVP in 2008 as the Phillies beat the Devil Rays.  Hamels’ last appearance in the All-Star game was in 2016, his first full year with the Rangers. As they were, the Braves had a lead of 2 games to 1 over the Cardinals in a best of 5 NLDS.  Another pitcher might have made a difference.  Even if he can’t be that difference maker, he could do a lot to mentor the young staff the Braves have. 

  Today’s second pitcher to move was dealt elsewhere as opposed to signing as a free agent.  the former Oriole Dylan Bundy was sent to the Angels for numerous prospects. He had followed his older brother Bobby in the Orioles’ farm system.  Dylan was taken 4th overall in the country in 2011, straight from high school. He had his first taste of the show at the end of 2012 but needed Tommy John surgery early in 2013.  He rejoined the major league team starting the 2016 season. With truly awful Orioles’ teams behind him, he went 8–16 and 7–14 the last two seasons. The closest thing to a big leaguer the Orioles got was a AA pitcher named Isaac Mattson.

  The last pitcher to move today has gotten much ink as a free agent since the Mets wouldn’t make him a qualifying offer.  He’ll only have to move some 90 miles down the New Jersey turnpike to his new home.  The Phillies, already in hock up to their strike zone for Bryce Harper, gave Zack Wheeler just under 24 million a year for the next 5 years. Wheeler has barely broken even with the Mets, posting a 44-38 record since joining them in midseason 2013. Like Dylan Bundy, Wheeler was also a very early draft pick–6th overall in 2009 by the Giants.  They sent him to the Mets well before he was ready for the bigs in a deal for Carlos Beltran.  Wheeler missed the Mets’ two best recent years-2015 when they made the World Series and 2016 when they lost in the wild card game.  He had Tommy John surgery early in 2015. When he finally came back in 2017, he had an ERA just north of 5 and was 3 times put on the DL with arm trouble. In the two years since, he’s shown very occasional flashes of brilliance but has taken some fearsome poundings.  His new home ball park, Citizens’ Bank Park in Philly isn’t known as a health spa for the ailing ERA.  Now, Wheeler will have to figure out how to get out Pete Alonso who was his teammate as well as NL Rookie of the Year in 2019.                 

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    April 5, 2020

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