The Cubs and pitcher Jason Hammel have agreed to a one-year, $6 million contract, per media reports. The 31-year-old Hammel spent the 2013 campaign with the Baltimore Orioles.
The Washington native went 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.457 WHIP (85 ERA+) in 26 games (23 starts) last season, but is just one year removed from a 8-6 record, 3.43 ERA, and 1.237 WHIP 2012. Over his career, Hammel has a 6.5 K/9 and a 3.1 BB/9, both serviceable numbers. His career 45.2% ground-ball percentage good. In 2012, when Hammel posted the highest ERA+ of his career, his ground-ball percentage was at 53.2%. In 2013, he posted the worst ground-ball rate of his career, leading to the second-worst ERA+ of his career (min. 20 appearances). If Hammel can post a better ground-ball rate in 2014, the Cubs may have found a gem for their rotation.
This is a very nice deal by the Cubs. They were able to add cheap rotation depth, and on Hammel's best day, he can be excellent. In a market where starting pitching is not cheap (Ricky Nolasco was paid nearly $50 million), the Cubs made a nice signing that could really pan out to be a very good deal.