Kansas City Royals to sign Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel’s long free agency has come to an end, and he will sign with the Kansas City Royals.

In the midst of all the post-Super Bowl craziness, the Kansas City Royals and free-agent starting pitcher Jason Hammel announced an agreement on a contract. The news was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, with Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports confirming the value of the deal at $16 million over two years. This takes the best starting pitcher available this offseason off the market.

With the tragic passing of young pitcher Yordano Ventura, the Royals were in need of depth in their rotation. Hammel was realistically the only option left on the market that could guarantee the Royals quality innings this season. He is coming off a 15-win season, and has 3.68 ERA over the past three seasons across more than 500 innings.

Concerns about his health and ability to pitch deep into games at the age of 34 kept Hammel a free agent far longer than most expected after the Chicago Cubs declined his option for the 2017 season.

For the Royals, adding Hammel was a logical move. Their rotation lacks a clear-cut number-two behind presumptive ace Danny Duffy. Duffy, it should be noted, has never thrown more than 200 innings in a season and struggled in the second half last year. Hammel is a fly-ball pitcher, and his style should play well in spacious Kauffman Stadium.

The large dimensions of his new home park (and most parks in the AL Central, for that matter), may allow Hammel to come close to replicating his numbers from the National League. Even with so many pending free agents after the 2017 season, it’s clear the Royals aren’t totally ready to wave the white flag on this current roster.

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