Cubs acquire veteran starter Cole Hamels in trade with Rangers

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

The Chicago Cubs reportedly added a battle-tested former ace to their rotation Thursday, acquiring veteran left-hander Cole Hamels from the Texas Rangers.

Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan confirmed the trade is done and that the Rangers will get minor leaguer Rollie Lacy and a player to be named later in return from the Cubs, while Chicago will also get cash toward the rest of Hamels’ $23.5 million salary this season.

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There had not been a lot of buzz around Hamels, 34, leading up to the trade until recently. What speculation there was always seemed to center around a potential return to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cubs quickly emerged as frontrunners early Thursday and were able to finalize a deal quickly.

Adding a starting pitcher became a priority for Chicago with Yu Darvish’s status up in the air and Tyler Chatwood faltering. Both pitchers were signed during the offseason. Hamels is in the final year of a seven-year $159 million contract.

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Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News was first to report the two sides had agreed to a deal. Neither team has formally announced the trade, though players need to be notified and pass physicals before the trade becomes official.

The Texas Rangers have traded starting pitcher Cole Hamels to the Chicago Cubs. (AP)
The Texas Rangers have traded starting pitcher Cole Hamels to the Chicago Cubs. (AP)

What does Cole Hamels bring to the Cubs?

Hamels perceived value is vastly different than it was three years ago, when he was traded from Philadelphia to Texas along with reliever Jake Diekman for a package of six prospects. People remember Hamels as a frontline ace, 2008 World Series MVP and four-time All-Star. That’s not the case anymore. So far this season, Hamels has a 4.72 ERA and has allowed 23 home runs, which is tied for second most in MLB.

Nothing highlights the difference more than how his stints ended. In his final Phillies start in 2015, Hamels fired a no-hitter against the Cubs to send his value soaring. In his final Rangers start on Monday, Hamels allowed seven earned runs over five innings. Since the beginning of June, Hamels has posted a 6.02 ERA over nine starts.

The silver lining might be in Hamels’ home/road splits. Hamels has a 2.93 ERA in 10 starts on the road this year, compared to a 6.41 ERA in 10 starts at home.

Chicago’s hope is that a change of scenery will help, and that a chance to win another championship will bring out the best in Hamels again for the stretch run.

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