This headline would have been really exciting for Cubs fans five years ago. But let’s be real here for a minute. The Cubs’ front office, specifically Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, absolutely had to make a move for a starting pitcher. What made things interesting is that this year we really don’t have the starting pitching talent a team like the Cubs would need on the trading block.
With Yu Darvish, Hamels’ former teammate, being injured for most of the year (and struggling when he was healthy), and Tyler Chatwood leading the world in walks, the Cubs did not have much of a choice. If they wanted to contend come playoff time, they needed another starting arm.
Now to be fair, the big lefty from San Diego is struggling a bit himself this year with a 5-9 record and a 4.72 ERA with the Texas Rangers (Baseball-Reference.com). Globe Life Park in Arlington is pretty hitter friendly and his numbers away from home are much better. The most concerning part about Hamels this year is the exit velocity players are hitting against him averaging 87.6 MPH per Statcast. If you are new to exit velocity stats like me, it’s not that great (but not the worst either).
The Cubs seem to have gotten a pretty good deal for the risky pitcher though. According to the Chicago Cubs official Twitter account, The Cubs acquired Hamels and cash considerations for pitchers Eddie Butler and Rollie Lacy and a player to be named later. Eddie Butler is a little surprising to see go but considering who the Cubs are bringing in, Butler would have been a bullpen guy (at best) anyways. If I had to venture a guess Chatwood will either be dealt by the deadline (unlikely) or will be in the bullpen the rest of the year until they can unload him during the off season. It is very unlikely he will make a playoff roster should the Cubs get there this year.
The Rangers are agreeing to pay most of Hamels’ salary this year and the Cubs will retain control of him until 2019. Gomez Guess says that 2019 might not come for Hamels who has $20 million option with a $6 million buyout. Digging further into that guess, I would say he probably has one more year after this before he announces his retirement anyways.
Ironically, despite Jake Arrietta throwing two no-hitters with the Cubs, Cole Hamels is the last pitcher to throw a no-hitter a Wrigley Field when he did it against the Cubs almost exactly three years ago (two days removed), the first such no-hitter against the Cubs in 49 years (previously Sandy Koufax’s perfect game). Hamels has a respectable 3.43 career ERA and has 2,341 strikeouts to his name and brings a positive veteran status to the young Cubs team who are looking to secure their 4th straight playoff appearance.
Do you like or dislike this trade? Let us know in the comments!
Photo Credit: USA Today
Photo Credit: USA Today
Photo Credit: ESPN
Video Credit: omkar ghenand
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