Is the Chicago Cubs’ acquisition of left-hander Cole Hamels a move made just to get them through 2018 or are there long-term implications in-mind?
Yesterday, Joe Maddon and the first-place Chicago Cubs were able to manage a four-game split with the Arizona Diamondbacks. As discussions between the Cubs and Rangers progressed, David Bote and Anthony Rizzo provided a little walk-off magic in the ninth.
Eventually, the Cubs found themselves in a 6-1 hole entering the home half of the fifth inning. Thursday’s starter, Tyler Chatwood, walked another six batters while yielding four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Chatwood leads the league in walks with 85 under his belt. We just now started the second half and he is already eight walks over his career high of 77 – which came in his final year with the Colorado Rockies.
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Now, fans have been calling for the Cubs to part ways with Chatwood or at least, send him down to the minors. That way, he’s either no longer Chicago’s problem or could at least work on his mechanics.
Cash-in or out?
Before being sent to the Texas Rangers, Hamels signed a massive six-year, $144 million deal — second largest ever signed by a pitcher. Along with Hamels’ talents which includes a somewhat disappointing 5-9 record, 4.72 ERA, 114:42 K/BB ratio; the Cubs will receive some cash to help pay the remainder of his salary.
A salary that was set at $22 million in 2018 and a small $6 million buyout option for 2019. But if all goes well, would both sides ever agree on that $6 million option?
Once standing in Joe Maddon’s way of a World Series title in 2008, Hamels was a force to be reckoned with. The veteran southpaw has surpassed 200 plus innings eight times in his career.
Not to mention, punching out 200-plus batters five times and nearly grazing the milestone on several occasions. Unfortunately, the lefty has struggled over his previous seven starts. Through 35 innings of work, the 34-year-old has surrendered 26 earned runs on 46 hits.
Still, he has only walked 42 batters all season. Yes, we’re focusing on that stat since Chatwood has been mentioned in this post. Also, this is a guy who hurled a no-hitter against the Cubs while wearing a Phillies uniform in July 2015 – his final start with Philadelphia.
If all ends well with Hamels and the Cubs decide to hang on to him, he is set to make $20 million in 2019. A solid chunk of money for a guy who will turn 35 years old on December 27. Would the buyout come into play along with a new low-cost contract?
Possibly. However, Cole could potentially draw interest from other teams in the league considering he was on the Yankees’ radar before they acquired J.A. Happ. A decision to keep him onboard with this club would definitely make sense – just not at $20 million.
It would allow Theo and Jed to focus on filling other spots without stressing over the starting rotation. He has proven to be a reliable arm, even in his mid-30’s.
His Cubs debut could come either Saturday or Sunday during the weekend series against the St. Louis Cardinals, an important five-game road trip headlined by N.L. Central rivals.