By Sam Bush

The Phillies are desperate for pitching, but it is a fever dream that the Three Stooges who run the team are going to shell out big bucks for Gerrit Cole or any other break-the-bank hurler.

Try lowering the temp a bit on that fever:

Cole Hamels told MLB.com that he was interested in returning.

“I know Philly is finally trying to make that push,” Hamels said. “They’re building their roster. If I fit on their roster and their plans, I’d love the opportunity to come back. It’s probably more on their end, though, to reach out and see if I actually do fit in their plans. It would be difficult for me to say, ‘Hey, I want to play there, can you guys make it happen?’ But I’m always willing to play for that team and city and attempt to win a World Series. That’s where I am right now. I just want to have the opportunity to get to the postseason, just so that I can try to win.”

Phillies GM Matt Klentak has said he’d rather avoid losing draft picks to sign elite free agents, and Hamels doesn’t have draft-pick compensation attached. At 36 this December, he’s not the pitcher he once was — the lefty was MVP of the NLCS and World Series for the Phillies in 2008 — but he had a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts for the Cubs this year before landing on the IL. Things were rougher after his return, but he finished his season with eight strikeouts in four shutout innings in his final outing.

The Phillies need stability and having a veteran like Hamels on the mound and in the clubhouse helps provide stability in both places. Plus, what would be a better start to the offseason — after two frustrating years on the field — than to bring back one of the club’s all-time fan favorites?

Hamels would be a great secondary rotation addition, but if the Phillies sign him and use that as a reason not to chase one of the ace-types on the market — Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Madison Bumgarner, etc. — then Phillies fans have a right to be angry at the front office.

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