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Chicago Cubs’ Jason Hammel a More Realistic Trade Option than Jeff Samardzija for New York Yankees?

May 22nd, 2014 at 10:44 AM
By Doug Rush

This past week, the New York Yankees got a chance to look at two potential prime candidates in their two-game series against the Chicago Cubs.

The first one, and the more popular one was Jeff Samardzija, who despite the 0-4 record is considered one of the most attractive trade options right now considering his age and the control of his contract as he wouldn't be just a rental, but getting the Cubs ace right now would cost any team a major overhaul in prospects; potentially four-five at least.

Despite the amount of return it would take to land Samardzija, his brilliant start against the Yankees on Wednesday night only further increased his trade value, who tossed seven scoreless innings, lowered his ERA down to 1.46 and would have been in line for his first win of the 2014 season, but a ninth-inning rally prevented Samardzija from getting the win and remains winless in 16 straight starts now.

Jason Hammel on the other hand, also increased his trade value by not only getting a win against the Yankees on Tuesday night, but also got a win over Masahiro Tanaka, who was 6-0 until the 6-1 victory at Wrigley Field; Hammel went 5.2 innings, struck out six and allowed only one run. Hammel is 5-2 on the season with a 2.91 ERA in nine starts and has 49 strikeouts in 58,2 innings this season.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post mentioned how Hammel, who is on a one-year, $6 million deal with the Cubs and a free agent after the season, would be a more realistic and cheaper trade option for the Yankees as opposed to Samardzija, who won't be a free agent until after 2015.

"Because Samardzija is under team control through next year, he’ll require a haul of prospects to acquire him, and the Yankees might not be able to compete in that arena even as their farm system has enjoyed a rebound year. Hammel, with a lesser pedigree and a shorter contract — he’s making $6 million this season — should cost less. He now owns a 2.91 ERA in nine starts totaling 58 ²/? innings, and he pitched most recently for the Orioles (2012-13) and started his career with the Rays (2006-08). Based on what the Yankees witnessed Tuesday, Hammel can help them. And based on how this season has gone so far? The Yankees probably will need the help."
 
Hammel does have experience pitching in the American League and in the A.L. East when he was a member of the Baltimore Orioles from 2012-2013. Hammel went 15-14 in the two seasons with the Orioles and went 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA in two postseason starts for Baltimore; both starts were against the Yankees in the ALDS; a series the Yankees won 3-2. Hammel was the loser in Game 5 pitching at Yankee Stadium against CC Sabathia and got a no decision in Game 1, also pitching against Sabathia.
 
Hammel also pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006-2008, pitching both as a starter and reliever during that time. Before the season, Hammel was dealt by the Rays to the Colorado Rockies where he pitched for three seasons and posted a 27-30 record in 87 starts. 
 
With Samardzija likely to cost a king's ransom in a trade and Cliff Lee landing on the 15-day disabled list with an elbow injury, Hammel might look like a prime trade candidate and given the Yankees and Cubs have already made one deal last season; the one that sent Alfonso Soriano back to the Yankees in July, Brian Cashman could be calling his old buddies in Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer and president Theo Epstein to see what it might cost to land Hammel and give them extra help for their rotation this summer.
 
Tags: Baseball, Chicago Cubs, Jason Hammel, Jeff Samardzija, MLB, New York, New York Yankees

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