The oft-reported deals with a pair of right-handed pitchers – James McDonald and Jason Hammel – were both made official on Thursday, according to press releases from the organization.
The pair will add much-needed pitching depth to the club on the same day that it was reported that Jake Arrieta, a candidate for the back end of the rotation, is experiencing “shoulder tightness,” according to the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales, who was at this morning’s presser to open Spring Training, where general manager Jed Hoyer spoke about the injury.
“He’s feeling good right now,” Hoyer said. “He re-started a throwing program, but he will be a little late as far as throwing bullpens and getting into games. No time-table yet, but he is throwing and feeling good now, but that was something in the back of our minds as far as we went through this and added some pitching depth.’’
At the presser, the team announced the signings of the aforementioned Hammel and McDonald. Hammel, a former member of the Baltimore Orioles, will make $6 million this season. McDonald, a former Pittsburgh Pirates prospect, is inked to a $1 million, non-guaranteed deal with incentives.
The team has several arms vying for a slot in the five-man rotation: The top three are essentially locked in, in the form of Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson. In the final two slots, Hammel, Chris Rusin, who showed promise, at times, last season, Kyle Hendricks, Carlos Villanueva and Arrieta will look to pick up action.