For the 2016 Yankees we expected and witnessed a less than stellar starting rotation. Brian Cashman continues to portray 2017 as a competitive rebuild and Jason Hammel may be a perfect fit to satisfy that oxymoron.
Does signing Jason Hammel push the Yankees closer to playoff contention? Yeah.
Does signing Jason Hammel hurt the Yankees future cap capabilities? Nope.
The past two years have been solid for the 34 year old. In his 2016 campaign with World Champion Chicago, Hammel posted a 3.83 ERA in 30 starts and 166.2 innings thrown. He had 144 strikeouts and a 12-10 record. Though, Hammel did give up 25 home runs in pitcher friendly Wrigley field. That does not bode well for Yankee Stadium. Even with some long ball uncertainty, he would automatically be penciled in to a very questionable Yankees rotation as a reliable arm. But do they really need ANOTHER right handed slider throwing starter? Sure!
In a perfect world we’d all like to see another lefty alongside C.C. in the rotation, but that pitcher just isn’t out there. Let the Yankees revisit a Jose Quintana deal next offseason. Quite frankly, I’m surprised Hammel is still on the market with how bad of a free agent starting class there was this offseason. It only helps the Yankees negotiations that teams aren’t throwing big money at a 34 year old starter. Since he’s still lingering on the market, there could be an opportunity to snag him on a club friendly 1 year deal. (Two years at a reduced price would still be worth it)
If Hammel pitches to the quality he did last year, there are two outcomes:
1. The Yankees at the July 31st deadline are playing competitive baseball and are in the division and/or wildcard hunt in part thanks to a reliable starter in Hammel
2. The Yankees at the July 31st deadline are falling behind the pace of the division and wild card races, but see continued growth from their young talent. Oh, and they will have no long term money locked in the starting staff.
If those two outcomes don’t scream competitive rebuild I don’t know what does! I do have to point out that the last time Hammel was in the American League his ERA did creep up to 4.26 in 12 starts for Oakland in 2014 after being traded from Chicago. All in all he won’t cost the Yankees a pick to sign and they will not get locked in to a long term deal. Expect Hammel to sign 1-yr at about $11 million or 2-yrs around $20 million. There may be a younger and more attractive starter still on the market i.e. Tyson Ross, but Hammel seems like the more cost effective solution.
Twitter: @IIATMS @uncle_Pauliee