You know who is awesome? Cole Hamels. He is really awesome. He is very awesome at pitching baseballs and posing for hilarious photos and getting paid copious sums of money by the Philadelphia Philles.

For all those reasons, the Philadelphia Philles need Cole Hamels to be right as rain if they hope to compete with the Nationals and the Braves for the NL East. When news trickles out that Cole Hamels experienced shoulder soreness at the end of the season and during his winter throwing program, well, people tend to freak out.

If they aren’t freaking out, they probably should. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro threw cold water over the panic-stricken masses, assuring CSN Philly that Hamels was sore but everything is okay, man.

“We shut him down for a couple of weeks, but he’s fine now,” Amaro said. “He was being proactive more than anything else, which is good. We backed him off and slowed him down, but he’s back throwing now and doing fine. He’s had no complaints.”

It sounds like nothing, like Hamels went a little too hard a little too early. Which is fine and normal. But the concerns are real for the Phillies, as their hopes of contention hang on by the merest of threads.

Hard to believe a team that just acquired Michael Young could be described as such, but it is true! There is Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon and that is about it. Oh, wait. Half of Chase Utley and Mike Adams, too.

The Phillies top 10 prospects post on Baseball Prospectus describes a barren system with a very young pitcher with a very limited ceiling leading the way. Not that number three starters (as Jesse Biddle projects) are chopped liver but the system is short on talent for the future.

As evidenced by select moments of 2012 (putting together winning months in both August and September), the Phillies can play good baseball when all the pieces are in place. But an ageing team as no right to expect an old roster to stay on the field for 162 games. Unless their incredible starting pitcher trio stays healthy for the entire year, they are basically without hope.

Hamels is the one player in that mix who will remain a Phillie for the long term. He cannot get hurt. Full stop. Can. Not. Get. Hurt. Phillies fans were spoiled during their half decade of NL East dominance. Unless they make some big moves, they are staring at some pretty lean years in the future.