The Chicago Cubs have agreed to trade for Texas Rangers southpaw Cole Hamels. The Rangers will receive right-hander Eddie Butler, right-handed prospect Rollie Lacy, and a player to be named in return. The Cubs will also reportedly be picking up a just a portion of Hamels' remaining salary obligations.
Hamels has a 4.72 ERA and 2.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 20 starts this season. He's been hit hard in July, yielding 28 hits and 25 runs in 17 innings. Hamels also has had a home-run problem all season long, permitting 18 per nine innings.
It's worth noting that 16 of his 23 home runs allowed have come at home -- that despite throwing nearly the same amount of innings. In fact, the Cubs could be betting that a move away from Arlington will help Hamels get back on track.
Cole Hamels' numbers at Texas this year: 6.41 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 2.4 HR/9— Scott White (@CBSScottWhite) July 27, 2018
His numbers everywhere else: 2.93 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 9.9 K/9, 1.1 HR/9
I'm not saying he's as good as that second set of numbers, but he may do OK with the Cubs.
Besides, the Cubs are mostly betting money here. Hamels is due what's left on his $23.5 million salary, plus a $6 million buyout on next year's club option. The Cubs were rumored to be willing to cover $5 million of that sum:
Sources: Cubs will pay $5M of Hamels’ remaining obligation— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 27, 2018
Butler, 27, has pitched to an 81 ERA+ across parts of five big-league seasons. With the Cubs over the last two seasons, he has an ERA of 3.98 in 11 starts and 10 relief appearances. Coming up through the Rockies' system, Butler was widely regarded as a top-50 overall prospect.
Lacy, 23, was not ranked in MLB.com's top 30 for the Cubs system. The 2017 draft pick has split this season between two levels, posting a 2.45 ERA and 3.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio.