Rangers right-hander Jason Hammel is set to retire from Major League Baseball just one day after making the team’s Opening Day roster, according to multiple reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. While Hammel has informed the team of his decision, a formal announcement has yet to be made.
After finishing out a two-year gig with the Royals in 2018, the 36-year-old righty signed a minor league deal with the Rangers in February, then made it abundantly clear that he wouldn’t settle for anything less than a spot on the 25-man roster.
“I certainly won’t go to Triple-A,” he told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News last week. “This is a grind. If it requires me to go home, I know my family is waiting for me and has been for a while. I’m more than willing to go home and spend time with them.”
The Rangers eventually placed Hammel on their Opening Day roster with the intent of using him in long relief and spot starts. That may not have been enough of a guarantee for the veteran starter, however, especially considering his recent streak of bad luck in the majors. And, as he told Texas GM Jon Daniels, his priorities had shifted from baseball to his family, making the decision to step away from his MLB career an easy one.
Hammel hit some career-low numbers last year, pitching to a 3-12 record in 18 starts with a 6.02 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 0.9 fWAR across 127 innings in the rotation and bullpen. It was a disappointing finish to a long career, one in which he racked up a cumulative 298 starts and 20.1 fWAR for the Rays, Rockies, Orioles, Cubs, Athletics, and Royals from 2006 through 2018.
The Rangers have yet to name a replacement.