When the Atlanta Braves signed left-hander Cole Hamels over the offseason, they envisioned him providing a boost to the middle of their rotation. Unfortunately for everyone involved, his one-year contract will expire with him recording just a single appearance.
On Monday, Hamels told the Braves that his shoulder doesn't feel strong enough to pitch effectively, thereby ending his season, per Grant McAuley of the Braves Radio Network. Hamels discovered his shoulder fatigue after throwing a bullpen session in advance of his next scheduled outing.
Hamels, who will turn 37 years old in December, had debuted on Sept. 16. He threw 52 pitches against the Baltimore Orioles, holding them to three hits and three runs over 3 1/3 innings. Hamels' fastball averaged 88.4 mph, or three ticks below his 2019 seasonal average.
It's unclear where this leaves Hamels with regards to pitching next season. For his career, he has amassed 2,698 innings across 423 appearances (422 of them starts). He has a 3.43 ERA (123 ERA+) and a 3.34 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's also accumulated 59.4 Wins Above Replacement, a mark that leaves him a little short of Hall of Fame standards.
The Braves have had trouble maintaining a healthy, effective rotation all season. Opening Day starter Mike Soroka suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in his third start, while Sean Newcomb and Mike Foltynewicz have spent much of the year at the alternate site.
The Braves figure to enter the postseason with a three-game rotation that includes Max Fried, rookie Ian Anderson, and Kyle Wright, who has recently turned the corner following an adjustment on the rubber. Atlanta will turn to Huascar Ynoa, Josh Tomlin, or Tommy Milone -- the closest thing the team made to a big deadline addition -- should they advance.