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Report: Royals sign Jason Hammel to a two-year contract

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals have agreed to a two-year contract with pitcher Jason Hammel. The deal includes a mutual option for a third year. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Hammel will be guaranteed $16 million.

Hammel, 34, had another solid season with the Cubs, finishing 15-10 with a 3.83 ERA and a 144/53 K/BB ratio over 166 2/3 innings. The Cubs, though, surprisingly declined a $12 million club option for the 2017 season, instead paying him $2 million to buy out the remainder of the contract to allow him to become a free agent.

With Hammel now in the fold, Chris Young is likely the odd man out of the Royals’ starting rotation.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.