Yesterday we discussed why the Cubs should pull the trigger and trade Jason Hammel to the highest bidder. But today we make the case for keeping the 31-year-old right-hander.
As discussed yesterday, Jason Hammel has been the Cubs best overall pitcher in 2014 and they will have a need for him in 2015 and beyond. If the Cubs do trade Jeff Samardzija, who will anchor the pitching staff? Travis Wood? Without Samardzija the Cubs will be without an ace or anyone who even remotely resembles an ace. Travis Wood is a solid pitcher but he’s not the type of guy you turn to to stop a five game losing streak or the type of guy a team can ride during a playoff push. The best way to combat the lack of an ace is to have multiple solid starters, which the Cubs will have in Hammel, Wood and Jake Arrieta.
Another reason for the Cubs keeping Hammel is that he doesn’t want to be traded! Right after he was signed, Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago reported that Jason Hammel “[does not] want to be that guy that’s flipped,” and what better way to piss off Jason Hammel than to do exactly what he doesn't want you to do! And even more importantly, what kind of message does that send to players who the Cubs may try and lure to Chicago next off season? I’ll tell you what it says. It says that the Cubs have no loyalty to their players if they are not winning. It says that you need a significant, multi-year deal to have any part of their future. Which means that if the Cubs aren’t ready to be competitive in 2015, which they may not be, they will have a much harder time landing bargain free agents like Jason Hammel who are willing to sign for less.
And finally, Jason Hammel very cost effective. So far Hammel has six wins and a 2.78 ERA and he is only making six million dollars. The numbers that Hammel is putting up are those of a starter who would command in the neighborhood of 10-12 million dollars per year. And yet the Cubs are only paying him six! What if he gave the Cubs a hometown discount this offseason (when his contract is up) because they treated him the way he wanted to be treated and because he sees that this team is headed for contention? Say he signs a three year, 27 million dollar deal. That would give the Cubs Hammel’s last few seasons of peak effectiveness, solidify the rotation in the short term, and allow more time for the Cubs to develop the young pitchers that they land in the Jeff Samardzija trade.
The Cubs need to keep Jason Hammel and re-sign him this offseason because it’s good business and, at the end of the day, they both need each other. Everyone wins.
Now you have heard both sides of the argument. Comment below or weigh in on twitter (@cubs_101) or on our facebook page!Tags: Baseball, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, Jeff Samardzija, MLB