The Rockies and right-hander Jason Hammel avoided arbitration today by agreeing to a two-year contract, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Exact terms haven’t been disclosed, but the new contract will cover Hammel’s final two years of arbitration.
Hammel filed for $3.7 million and was offered $3.1 million by the Rockies when arbitration figures were exchanged on Tuesday. The 28-year-old right-hander made $1.9 million through the arbitration process last winter.
Acquired from the Rays in April of 2009, Hammel has a 4.57 ERA over his first two seasons with the Rockies. He went 10-9 with a 4.81 ERA and 141/47 K/BB ratio over 30 starts in 2010.
UPDATE: As this tweet from Rockies Roster correctly observes, Hammel was a Super Two last offseason, so he will still be under team control in 2013.
UPDATE II: Troy Renck of the Denver Post has the terms. Hammel signed a two-year, $7.75 million contract. He’ll make $3 million in 2011 and $4.75 million in 2012.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.