Ron Costello

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hamels Would Be the Hero of Houston

Between now and 4 p.m., on July 31st, Cole Hamels will be traded to the Houston Astros.

Here are five reason's why:

1. After losing 92 games last season, the 'Stros are now a half game behind the Angels in the AL West. They jumped off to a fast start and by May led their division by 5 games. But lately they've fallen off — losing their last six. After the all-star break, they want to continue their winning ways, either taking the division or one of two wild card slots.

They have one of the best run differentials in the league, scoring 28 more runs than they've allowed. The Astros were built not only to win now, but for the next 3 or 4 years.

They've been in a rebuilding mode since '11 and have youngsters to trade to the Phillies. Hamels can get them back on top in the AL West.

2. Out of the possible teams rumored to get Hamels, Houston has the best payroll flexibility, starting the season with a $72.4 million team payroll. Boston: $184.3 million; Dodgers: a ridiculous $271.6 million; Yankees: $217.6 million; Texas: $141.7 million; and the Angels: $146.3 million.

It't time for the Astros to spend a little and nail down a post appearance this fall. Hamels contract  calls for about $8 million left this season — $22.5  million in '16; $22.5  million in '17, $22.5 million in '18; and $20 million in '19, with a club buyout on $6 million.

That's expensive, but worth it if a club like Houston has a shot at the post season.

3. The 'Stros rotation, in order to stay alive in the second half, needs a boost from a steady left handed veteran like Hamels. They have three potent, young starters: Dallas Keuchel, 27, Lance McCullers, 21, and Collin McHugh, 28. Add the veteran Hamels, 31, and you're looking at a foursome that can carry the club in the second half.

Hamels post season experience can help the club get through the remainder of the season and into October baseball.

4. It would revitalize Hamels career. The Astros resemble the 2008 Phillies. You remember back then, don't you? Big, excited crowds; white towels waving; sell out after sell out. The 'Stros have brought major league baseball back to Houston, after some dismal years. In '11, '12, and '13, they lost more than 100 games, and lost 92 in '14. Suddenly, they've come alive — and are stocked with youngsters who hustle and play exciting baseball.

5. Houston is a great city. Been there myself many times.  The Bayo City is today's up and coming American city. Forbes named Houston "America's coolest city" — cool "meaning very good and fashionable" —  with a  resident median age of a youthful 33. Hamels is 31.

Hamels could reach his full potential in Houston, and get what he can't get in Philly.

Run support!

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