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Cole Hamels might accept a series of one-year deals

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Cole Hamels just finished up a seven-year, $158 million contract and is a free agent. At (almost) age 36 he’s not quite the pitcher he used to be, but he’s still an above-average starter who could help a contender.

The question normally asked at this juncture is whether a contender wants to give a big free agent deal to a 36 year-old pitcher. It may not have to be asked now because, via this article at MLB.com, Hamels says he might accept a one-year deal:

“I’m not there to handcuff somebody or an organization,” Hamels said. “That’s what the younger guys can do. I can do one year here and there and just play as long as I can play. I think that’s what will help give me an opportunity to play on teams that are trying to go to the postseason. If you need one guy, I can just kind of bounce around.”

Which may explain why the Cubs didn’t give him a qualifying offer. He may very well have accepted it.

What to think of this?

On the one hand, Hamels sounds like his top priority is signing someplace where he can win and it could very well be the case that he’s best positioned to do that by being willing to take single-year deals. On the other hand, it’s hard not to see this as a comment of sorts on the state of the free agent market that this does, in fact, seem like the most viable path for him. On the third hand, he was dealing with shoulder fatigue late in the season and perhaps he’d not draw multi-year deals from anyone, even if the free agent market was as hot as it used to be back in the day. He’s sort of a complicated case.

Maybe that doesn’t happen. Maybe someone does want to lock him up longer. He says he’d be open to that if the opportunity arose. Including if that meant a reunion with the Phillies. But he will certainly be one of the more interesting free agents on the market this winter.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).