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Jason Hammel Remains a Free Agent

Right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel is still on the open market during this offseason. He became a free-agent on November 6th, when the Chicago Cubs declined his $12 million option for the 2017 season to buy his contract out for $2 million.

Hammel, 34, previously pitched for the Rays, Rockies Orioles and A’s (he was traded along with Jeff Samardzija for Addison Russell during his first stint with the Cubs). He pitched to a 3.83 ERA with 7.78 strikeouts per nine innings, 2.86 walks per nine innings, and a 42.1 groundball rate in 2016. He has also changed agencies, switching from Octagon to ACES.

John Perrotto of FanRag Sports wrote this about Hammel:

One of the biggest surprises of free agency is that right-hander Jason Hammel has received limited interest despite going a combined 25-17 with a 3.79 ERA in 61 starts with the Chicago Cubs over the last two seasons.

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.

His elbow tightness could be a major issue for securing a long-term deal. Although he pitched well and was incredibly solid during his time with the Cubs, Chicago wouldn’t commit to him for longer than a year. This has raised some major concerns for the pitcher’s health.

“He’s going to have to lower his sights,” an American League scout said to Perrotto. “There are just too many questions marks surrounding him. I’m not saying he couldn’t help someone, it’s just that he’s not a sure thing and it’s tough to commit a lot of money to that kind of player.”

Mike Axisa of River Avenue Blues believes that Hammel could be a good fit for the New York Yankees:

“Does He Fit The Yankees?

Yes because he’s a veteran starting pitcher who has been pretty good in recent years and won’t cost an arm and a leg. There is no such thing as too much pitching depth. The Yankees will appreciate having an extra veteran starter around whenever the kids inevitably hit a bump in the road all at once. You know it’s coming.”

He could also be a signee of the Seattle Mariners, according to Ryan Devault of Inquistr.

The Cubs could also bring back Hammel if he doesn’t find a multi-year deal elsewhere. He pitched well with the team in the past and being brought back on a smaller price tag would make sense.

Projected Team: Chicago Cubs

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