Kansas City Royals Sign Jason Hammel to Two-Year Deal

The Kansas City Royals made a move to improve their rotation as soon as the Super Bowl ended on Sunday, signing free agent Jason Hammel to a two-year contract with a mutual option for a third season.

Multiple outlets are reporting the deal, but of course it was Ken Rosenthal that had the news first.

Not to be outdone, Jeff Passan added in the details of the deal.

The mutual option would come out later.

After the tragic passing of Yordano Ventura, the Kansas City Royals were left with an unexpected gap in their starting rotation, and it looks as though Hammel will be there to fill that void for at least the next two seasons.

Hammel will be entering his age 34 season in 2017, and while he has had success the past three seasons (at least when he’s been in a Cubs uniform), his brief stint in the American League with Oakland didn’t go quite so well. After holding a 2.98 ERA (3.19 FIP) with Chicago to start the 2014 season, he was traded to Oakland along with Jeff Samardzija and held a 4.26 ERA (5.10 FIP). When the A’s met the Royals in the 2014 wild card game, it was Hammel that gave up the single to Salvador Perez that sealed the win for Kansas City.

But why are we focusing on Hammel’s 2014 stats? Well, it’s the last time that he was in the American League, and over his career he has struggled more in the AL than in his time in the NL. For his career, Hammel’s ERA in the NL stands at 4.15, while his AL mark is at 4.90.

His fastball velocity lost a couple ticks last year comparatively to the previous two seasons, but he was also showing off a harder slider than the last time he was in the AL, so we’ll see how that translates when he comes to K.C. That slider, by comparison to the rest of baseball, is thrown with a spin rate that is well below the average. Hammel’s slider averages 1,297 rpm, while a typical hurler averaged 1,959 rpm.

With the addition of Hammel, the Royals look to be taking another small, calculated step towards competing yet again in 2017. With a number of their core players on expiring contracts, this season could be the last go-around for the current version of the Royals. Then again, if the small upgrades that Kansas City has made around the diamond all click and health stays on their side, the Royals could be sniffing the postseason with the assistance of a relatively weak division.

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