May 20, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel (39) throws a pitch against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

SOURCE: Chicago Cubs’ Jason Hammel to be traded within next two weeks


With the dreaded July 31 trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Cubs face another fire sale on the near horizon. The deadline these past few years have been terrific for the Cubs, while at the same time causing fans to wonder when the front office is going to stop trading 40 percent of the rotation year after year.

The Theo Epstein-led front office has hit it big these past few deadlines, capitalizing on Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman‘s big seasons to acquire talent such as Jake Arrieta and Arodys Vizcaino. And that only includes a couple of the sign-and-trade guys of the Epstein regime, leaving out the profits made after deals like the Matt Garza robbery.

The Cubs hit it big once again in 2014, of course, banking on a terrific first half from Jason Hammel and being rewarded handsomely. Hammel has outpitched Feldman, the man who netted the Cubs a reclamation project in Arrieta, with an ERA/FIP/xFIP line of 2.99/3.06/3.28. Feldman’s at the time of the deal? 3.46/3.93/3.83.

Hammel could net the Cubs a talented player or two, with a possible return of Major League ready pitcher(s), like the Arrieta return, and will likely exceed the Feldman deal.

Expect a deal fairly soon with Hammel, which could very likely fall around the date of the Feldman trade, July 2, the same day the international signing period begins. I was recently told by a Major League source close to Hammel that “talk is that Hammel will be traded in two weeks”.

This lines up with the start of the International signing period, July 2, and makes terrific sense as the Cubs will undoubtedly want to split up the Hammel and Jeff Samardzija markets (Hammel traded early, Samardzija near the deadline). The Cubs are likely to follow the same pattern as last year, when they dealt Feldman early and Matt Garza much later to maximize the return on the bigger fish, and this year, that “big fish” is Samardzija.

However, as it has been in recent years, with talented pitchers facing free agency being dealt, there’s always the question of “will he resign?” The Cubs faced it with Dempster, Feldman, and even Maholm and Garza. This almost never occurs, even if the connection is there and the fit. It could be that feelings sour after a midseason deal or a combination of things, but it never really happens.

The media always questioned guys like Garza and Feldman, and usually you get a very vague, typical interview response such as, “I love playing here, but we’ll see what happens” kinds of responses.

Hammel, however, was refreshingly frank when talking to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers about the possibility.

“I would assume they are pretty happy with my body of work so far and if a trade happens it happens. But, I guarantee, say I was to go to another team, I love it here. I guarantee they wouldn’t be opposed to bringing me back next year”

Man, is that refreshing. It warms my heart to hear a player so open about his desires, and breaking away from a typical response. You almost never hear of a player talking blatantly about a situation like this, and you have to tip the cap to Hammel. It would be terrific having Hammel in the Cubs’ rotation for the next year or two, and it’s wonderful Hammel and the front office feel the same way.

The same source close to Hammel told me, however, that there haven’t been actual discussions between Hammel and the Cubs pertaining to a contract after the season. Just Hammel voicing his thoughts on the matter. That isn’t to say there’s no chance of it happening, of course, as it’s pretty rare for that type of discussion to occur midseason.

Hammel is going to fetch quite a haul compared to the Feldman deal, and as early July nears, Hammel’s days as a Cub appear numbered – for now.

 

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  • ERIC

    Hey this is a blue jays fan here I don’t know much about cubs players but I am wondering if this would be a good deal

    Sanchez, Norris, Tirado, Dwight Smith Jr and R.A Dickey for Samardzija, Hammel and Schierholtz

    Here’s a general breakdown of jays players

    Aaron Sanchez “#19 overall mlb.com 1′st Jays prospect mlb.com RHP age 21 level AAA”

    Great Fastball with 2 other above average pitches all with great movement trouble with control has 1-2 starter potential stock has taken hit likely top 50 prospect now”

    Daniel Norris “#95 overall mlb.com 3′rd jays prospect mlb.com LHP age 21 level AA”

    has Above average fastball with 3 other pitches with average-above average potential. Has corrected control problem has 2-3 starter potential. Stock has gone way up likely top 75 prospect.

    Alberto Tirado ” 7′th jay’s prospect mlb.com RHP age 19 Level A-”

    Another pitcher with above average- plus fastball also has a potential above average slider and average changeup. Has control problems common at this age has 2-3 starter potential. Stock the same

    Dwight Smith Jr “OF age 21 Level A+”

    A speedy outfielder with top of order potential is like Pompey but with slightly higher potential and more risk. Has average starter potential. stock the same.

    R.A Dickey “RHP age 39 Level MLB”

    Knuckleball pitcher with 4.04 era when he is on he shows glimpses of 2012 self can eat 200 innings. Can be inconsistent with walks and homeruns. Has potential of 2-3 starter floor of 4-5 starter interesting buy floor option.

    Tell me how you think of trade. If you want more info then go to mlb.com for general info or look at jay’s journal scouting reports for lots of info.

    • Patrick W.

      So break it down this way instead: It would take Sanchez, Norris +1 to get Samardzija. Let’s call that one Dwight Smith Jr. So that leaves you with Tirado and Dickey for Hammel and Schierholtz and that’s just not getting done. The Cubs would NEVER take R.A. Dickey. He has zero fit.

      • ERIC

        1′st Dickey will have to be part of the trade or else we will have 6 starters
        2. what prospect or prospects will take it for it do be done “also don’t need schierholtz just thought he would be a good 4′th outfielder”

        • Patrick W.

          Right, but Dickey has no value to the Cubs. Why would they take him? And if you don’t need Schierholtz (you don’t) then why would you trade for him? You can’t think of players as being matching pieces for each other. Players have to fit a need for both teams. If the Jays want Samardzija and Hammel, the Cubs are in no obligation to take the fifth worse SP just to open up room for Hammel. You have to look at the value of both guys separately. Samardzija takes Sanchez, Norris and Pompey (or *maybe* D. Smith). Then what does it take to get Hammel? Probably Tirado and maybe one more.. maybe Jiminez. But not R.A. Dickey. He’s a great story, good pitcher, belongs in the majors, but not with the Cubs.

          • ERIC

            so you fell that Sanchez, Norris, Tirado, Pompey and Jimenez would get Samardzija and Hammel. Would be a little high for Jays but I would take it

    • http://www.illinoisestateplan.com/blog Jeff Gottlieb

      I doubt Shark and Hammel go to the same team. I think Sanchez, Norris and Smith for Shark (and Barney) works. Cubs fans will fondly recall Dwight Smith. He was awesome in ’89.