Yankees Interested In Free Agent Pitcher Jason Hammel
The winter of mediocre free agent pitchers being linked to the Yankees continues, as former Cubs starter Jason Hammel is said to have peaked GM Brian Cashman’s interest.
34-year-old right-hander, Jason Hammel had a pretty nice season when you look squarely at his cumulative stats: 15-10 with a 3.83 ERA in 166.2 innings pitched. So how is it that the recently crowned World Series champion Chicago Cubs decided to buy out the final year of Hammel’s contract for $2M instead of paying him a guaranteed $12M — which by standards of what legitimate MLB hurlers make, isn’t all that much? And why then are the Yankees interested in potentially signing him?
First things first. Hammel’s throwing elbow became a source of concern toward the latter stages of this past season — enough so that the Cubs were forced to leave him off the entirety of their Postseason roster.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, as multiple teams have requested medical records pertaining to Hammel’s problematic elbow from his representatives (Octagon sports agency), but have yet to be provided the all-important documentation.
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The Cubs, being the savvy organization they are, wisely saved themselves $10M on a pitcher, though solid over the past three seasons (35 wins, a 3.79 ERA, and an 8.4 K/9 rate), could provide next to nothing in 2017 if Hammel’s elbow tightness continues to progressively worsen.
As for the Yankees, they have their own question marks when it comes to what type of compilation will come forth from the pitching staff in ’17. A healthy Hammel (keyword: healthy) would be a wise investment, as those within baseball circles believe he could garner a contract nearing three years, $45M.
On the heels of a 7.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, Hammel would slide in nicely anywhere from No. 3-5 in a Yankees rotation. But does this club really need another aging veteran with a balky body part?
If Octagon eventually releases their classified dossier on their client and all is deemed copasetic, then sure, Cashman and company should invest a two-year, $30M deal on him. If not, I can still see the Yankees giving him one-year, $10M — though I’m not sure it’s the smartest way to blow a fat eight figures.
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