Jason Hammel turned in another steady season for the Cubs in 2016, taking the ball 30 times before an elbow injury ended his season in late September and kept him off the roster throughout the team's World Series run. Just days after winning Game 7 of the World Series, the Cubs front office declined an option on Hammel's contract for 2017, making him a free agent. At age 34, Hammel has never reached 180 innings in a big league season. Also of concern is that he struggled in a big way outside of Wrigley, as opposing hitters put together a .278/.344/.530 line against him on the road last season including 18 of the 25 home runs he allowed. For 2017, Hammel's value will hinge on the health of his arm, although his new home park of Kauffman Stadium doesn't play too well to the longball, which could help the righty put a dent in his career 1.1 HR/9.
Hammel (elbow) tossed two scoreless innings in his spring debut Saturday. He allowed two hits and hit a batter, but Hammel kept the Reds quiet Saturday. After logging 166.2 innings in the Cubs' rotation last season, the Royals are hoping that Hammel can offer up five-plus frames every fifth day this season in their quest to find ample rotation depth for 2017.
Hammel (elbow) signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Royals pending a physical, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The deal also includes a mutual option for a third year. The right-hander had a passable season with the Cubs in 2016, sporting a 3.83 ERA and 15 wins by the season's end, but given Chicago's multitude of other options, he was forced to latch on with another team more in need of starting pitching. Hammel seems primed to jump right into Kansas City's rotation once his elbow is back to full strength, which could bode well for him given the strong defense that will soon lie behind him.
Hammel's option for the 2017 season was declined by the Cubs on Sunday, Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago reports. The veteran posted a decent 2016 campaign, but was not part of the team's playoff roster as they shaved down the starting rotation to four. Hammel will likely be able to find work in 2017, but his departure opens up a spot in the Cubs' rotation, presumably for Mike Montgomery if they don't add to the rotation in free agency.
Hammel (elbow) was left off the World Series roster, Bleacher Nation's Brett Taylor reports. The fact that he was left off the roster could be health related, but he also doesn't make much sense as a bullpen option, given the Cubs' other options. There is a $10 million club option for Hammel next season, and it would cost them $2 million to buy him out.
Hammel (elbow) was left off the NLCS roster. It's not clear if he was left off due to elbow tightness or the simple fact that he is not one of the team's top four starters and they wanted to load the bullpen with lefties to take advantage of the Dodgers' main weakness.