Jerry Crasnick reports that the Chicago Cubs will exercise Cole Hamels‘ $20 million option for 2019. And, as we talked about this morning, they cleared salary to do so, trading pitcher Drew Smyly to the Rangers.
Hamels was outstanding for the Cubs after being acquired from Texas at the deadline last season, putting up a 2.36 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 74/23 in 76.1 innings in 12 starts. He’ll be entering his 14th season in the big leagues and, for his career is 156-114 with a 3.40 ERA (124 ERA+). He’ll slot in alongside Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks at the top of the Cubs 2019 rotation. Chicago just picked up Jose Quintana’s option as well, so 1-4 is all set, actually.
Smyly has not pitched in the big leagues since 2016 and has only pitched one single game — a contest for South Bend of the Midwest League — in that time. He’s on the books for $7 million in 2019, however, by virtue of the two-year deal the Cubs handed him last December as he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery he underwent in mid-2017.
Atlanta Braves All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman is sick with COVID-19. Really sick. According to his manager, Brian Snitker, Freeman is “not feeling great.” His wife paints a darker picture than that.
Freeman’s wife posted on Instagram that Freeman has “body aches, headaches, chills and a high fever.” She said “He is someone who literally never gets sick and this virus hit him like a ton of bricks,” she said. “We’ve been really strict for the last 4 months,” she wrote. “Haven’t gone to a grocery store, haven’t gone out to dinner once, haven’t seen our friends … and still got it.” She added, “Please take this virus seriously, wear a mask when in public and wash you hands frequently.”
Freeman is not the only Braves player felled by the virus: teammates Will Smith, Touki Toussaint, and Pete Kozma, tested positive for COVID-19 this past week as well.
Freeman, 30, is a four-time All-Star who set career highs with 38 home runs and 121 RBIs last season to help Atlanta win its second straight NL East title. He also won the Silver Slugger Award. Given that he is sick and symptomatic now, it’s likely that he will not be ready to begin the truncated 2020 season as scheduled.