The new broke late tonight (almost midnight in Chicago) when Jon Heyman reported that the Cubs and Jason Hammel were close to a deal that would bring the right-hander back to Wrigley Field. Heyman does not have the terms of the deal, although he notes that Hammel was seeking a three-year deal.
Hammel was signed by the Cubs last February on a one-year deal for $6 million. He pitched extremely well for the Cubs, going 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA and a better than 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was, of course, part of the Fourth of July deal that sent Jeff Samardzija to Oakland and brought Addison Russell and Billy McKinney to the Cubs organization.
In Oakland, Hammel did not pitch as well going only 2-6 with a 4.26 ERA. However, most of his troubles came in the first four starts he made in Oakland in July after the deal. After August 1, he was pretty much just as good as he was in Chicago, posting a 2.49 ERA in 50.2 innings, while striking out 42 batters and walking only 11. He did seem to have terrible problems with giving up home runs in Oakland, and he gave them up at more than twice the rate there that he did in Chicago.
Several of you have suggested that Hammel would be a good fit to return to the Cubs, and now it looks like it is going to happen. Obviously we can't judge the wisdom of this deal until the terms of the contract become known, but in the abstract, bringing Hammel back most likely makes the Cubs a better team in 2015.
We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.