Earlier this winter, Jason Hammel had his club option bought out by the Chicago Cubs -- a surprising decision reportedly borne from the Cubs' desire to pursue other starting pitching options. The move was viewed as a favor to Hammel, who became one of the top free-agent arms available.
Months later, Hammel might be wondering if the Cubs did him a favor after all. According to John Perrotto of FanRag Sports, teams are showing limited interest in Hammel -- with few eager to commit to more than a one-year pact:
However, many teams are unwilling to commit to Hammel beyond one year after the Cubs left him off the postseason roster because of elbow tightness. Scouts also believe the quality of the 34-year-old's stuff is declining.
It's worth noting Hammel has not hit the disabled list since 2013. Over the past three seasons, he's started 90 times -- all the while posting a 105 ERA+ and 3.46 strikeout-to-walk ratio. There have been fluctuations in his performance -- his stint in Oakland didn't go well -- and he's closing on his 35th birthday. Still, Hammel's track record ought to make him a sought-after quantity.
As such, Hammel's story seems destined for an extreme ending. He'll probably sign with a team like the Seattle Mariners -- a quasi-contender needing rotation help -- and then one of two things will happen: he'll prove to be a bargain on a one-year deal, or a bust who proves the market's tepidness correct.
Which is more likely? Hard to say, but we know the industry's thoughts on the matter.