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.