Free agent right-hander Jason Hammel is having difficulty finding a landing spot this winter, according to a report by FanRag Sports’ John Perrotto. “Many teams” appear reluctant to take a flyer on the 34-year-old, despite his productive run with the Cubs last season, and Perrotto notes that the veteran starter is unlikely to net anything beyond a one-year contract heading into 2017.
Hammel pitched to a 3.83 ERA in 2016, supplemented by a 7.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 166 2/3 innings with Chicago. While not a career-worst year by any means, his strikeout and walk rates took a hit in 2016, followed by a subsequent dip in his overall value from 2.4 fWAR in 2015 to 1.5 in 2016. This may signal the start of Hammel’s decline to some teams, Perrotto speculates, especially when coupled with the righty’s late-season elbow issues.
It’s unlikely that Hammel will reach a deal before the calendar flips to 2017, but it’s not for lack of trying that he hasn’t fielded any serious offers yet. The righty switched up his representation last week, dropping Octagon in favor of ACES. While Cubs president Theo Epstein vouched for Hammel’s health back in November (albeit before announcing the decision to decline his $12 million option, via FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal), it’s likely not enough to inspire a multi-year deal for the injury-prone veteran.
The Rays acquired right-handed reliever Sergio Romo from the Dodgers, the teams announced Saturday night. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash hinted that the team was in on Romo during the offseason, but couldn’t quite make a deal happen at the time. The righty reliever was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on Thursday and will net the club cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Romo, 34, struggled to find his footing in his first season with the Dodgers. He left a closing role in San Francisco to play set-up man to established closer Kenley Jansen, and saw mixed results on the mound with a 6.12 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 through his first 25 innings of 2017. It’s a far cry from the sub-3.00 ERA he maintained in 2015 and 2016, but the Rays don’t seem to have ruled out a second-half surge just yet.
The veteran right-hander is expected to step into a bullpen that already boasts a solid core of right-handed relievers, including Alex Colome, Brad Boxberger, Erasmo Ramirez, Chase Whitley and Tommy Hunter. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rays were intrigued by Romo’s extensive postseason experience, affordability and hefty strikeout rate, but will likely continue to hunt for additional bullpen depth in the weeks to come.
Astros’ third baseman Colin Moran was carted off the field on Saturday night after a foul ball caught him in the left eye. He was forced to leave in the sixth inning when a pitch from Orioles’ right-handed reliever Darren O'Day ricocheted off the handle of his bat and struck him in the face, causing considerable bleeding and bruising around his eye. The full extent of his injury has yet to be reported by the team.
Prior to the injury, Moran was 1-for-2 with a base hit in the third inning. He was relieved by pinch-hitter/third baseman Marwin Gonzalez, who polished off the end of the at-bat by catapulting a three-run homer onto Eutaw Street.
Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran combined for another two runs in the ninth inning, bringing the Astros to a four-run lead as they look toward their 65th win of the season. They currently lead the Orioles 7-4 in the bottom of the ninth.