Chicago Cubs: Jason Hammel’s inconsistency made him expendible

The Chicago Cubs cashed in on the resurgence of the same player twice in his career. Most players hope to find that level of success once. When lightning struck again, the result was a consistent starter who brought a journeyman approach to the rotation.

Jason Hammel

SP, Chicago Cubs

B

166.2 IP, 15-10, 3.83 ERA, 77 R, 71 ER, 144 K, 53 BB, 1.21 WHIP

History will look upon the career of Jason Hammel and point out one undeniable fact. His best years were spent as a Chicago Cub. When the Cubs signed Hammel as a free agent prior to the 2014 season, they were in the midst of a massive rebuild.

The lengthy righty provided the Cubs with a strong effort that season. At the trade deadline, Hammel’s growing value was traded to the Oakland A’s along with Jeff Samardzija. The “buy low, sell high” Cubs gained top prospect Addison Russell in that deal.

Following that season, Hammel rejoined the Cubs as a free agent. He hoped to regain the quality stuff he had after struggling to duplicate it in Oakland.

2016 was arguably his most consistent. Recording his career high in wins (15) and posting another decent ERA, Hammel helped solidify the best rotation in baseball. Unfortunately, his lack of quality starts down the stretch led to Hammel being left off the playoff rosters.

Hammel spent a majority of his prime years playing in Colorado which can destroy the stats of a pitcher in an instant. Hammel will be 34 in 2017 and be looking to earn a bigger payday on the heels of winning a World Series.

Could this be the beginning of the end?

Despite the career mark in wins, Hammel showed signs of decline last season. His ERA climbed slightly from 2015 and total strikeouts were noticeably lower as well. Hammel also surrendered the most home runs than any other season.

As we sit here on January 6th, Hammel is still without a home for the 2017 season. The Cubs showed no intention to bring him back and the market for his services seems to be drying up. It appears that the only offers he will be getting will be to fill out the roster and provide depth in the rotation.

Jason Hammel will look back on his time with the Cubs as the most productive during his time in baseball. In particularly, 2016 gave Hammel the most coveted prize a player could work for. Although he didn’t participate in the playoffs, Hammel’s contribution to the Cubs can’t be overlooked.

This article originally appeared on