ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent right-hander Jason Hammel is looking for a three- or four-year deal in free agency. This is an excellent market for starting pitching, with Phil Hughes and Scott Feldman both recently receiving three-year deals, but it’s not that good.
While Hammel was one of the Orioles’ best starters in 2012, he disappointed to the tune of a 4.97 ERA over 23 starts and three relief appearances this past season. The 31-year-old had a stint on the disabled list due to right forearm tightness and saw his strikeout rate drop from 8.6 K/9 to 6.2 K/9.
Hammel figures to draw interest as a buy-low type, but finding a multi-year deal to his liking figures to prove difficult. Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reported earlier this afternoon that the Orioles have interest in bringing him back on an incentive-laden deal.
UPDATE: Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors hears that 12 teams are interested in Hammel. He hasn’t received any offers, but teams have discussed “one-year concepts.”
The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.
Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.
While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.