Cubs decline 2017 contract option for RHP Jason Hammel … Hammel becomes the Cubs’ ninth free agent
The Cubs announced Sunday afternoon the team declined the $12 million option for the 2017 season for RHP Jason Hammel. The Cubs paid Hammel the $2 million buyout on his contract. He is now a free agent.
Jason Hammel was 15-10 in 30 starts this season with a 3.83 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 4.48 FIP. Hammel allowed 77 runs, 71 earned, on 148 hits with 53 walks and 144 strikeouts. Hammel was 7-5 in his first 17 starts with a 3.46 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. In the second half, Hammel was 8-5 in 13 starts with a 4.35 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.
At Wrigley Field, Hammel was 10-2 in 15 starts with a 2.42 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.
Jason Hammel was not included on any of the three postseason rosters after a solid regular season in the rotation.
The Cubs were expected to pick up Hammel’s option due to the cost of pitching right now in baseball.
Theo Epstein said that Hammel was an integral part of the Cubs reaching the ultimate goal and he will always be considered a Cub.
The Cubs did not include an option in Hammel’s contract in order to exercise it and trade him. The only way the Cubs would have exercised it is if he was in the team’s plans for the 2017 season. Epstein said the Cubs “would certainly be open to Jason rejoining the organization in the future.”
Theo Epstein issued the following statement:
“First, I want to thank Jason for all of his contributions in his almost three seasons as a Cub. He was an effective, reliable starter the entire time he was a Cub, and this year he was an integral part of one of the best rotations in club history. We would not have been in a position to win the World Series without Jason’s terrific performance during the regular season. Jason and his family have been outstanding members of our organization and our community, and we are proud of their time with and impact on the Cubs.”
“While Jason is healthy and primed to have another effective season in 2017, we have decided to consider other internal and external options for our starting rotation next year. Our hope is that by giving a starting opportunity to some younger pitchers under multiple years of club control, we can unearth a starter who will help us not only in 2017 but also in 2018 and beyond.”
“When we agreed with Jason on this two-year contract back at the 2014 Winter Meetings, the option was included with the intent that it would be exercised if Jason was going to be a Cub in 2017. The intent was never to exercise the option and then trade Jason, so we will not consider that path. Instead, Jason will have the opportunity to enter free agency coming off an outstanding season and the ability to choose his next club. Meanwhile, the organization gains some flexibility and the opportunity to use a rotation spot to develop a younger, long-term starting pitcher.”
“We wish the Hammels nothing but the absolute best going forward. We would certainly be open to Jason rejoining the organization in the future, but even if that never happens we will always consider him a Cub and be thankful for his role in delivering a World Series Championship to the people of Chicago.”
Nine players that helped the Cubs win The World Series are now free agents … Dexter Fowler, Jason Hammel, Aroldis Chapman, Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill, Chris Coghlan, Joe Smith, Munenori Kawasaki and David Ross.
Updated 5:45pm CST – From ESPN Chicago: “A source familiar with the situation, told ESPN.com that the team gave the option to Hammel to decide if he wanted to return in 2017 or test the free agency next winter, in a very attractive market for starting pitchers.”