There's been no confirmation from the Cubs yet, but multiple reports say Jason Hammel has signed to return to the Cubs after spending half of 2014 with the team:
Can confirm reports that Jason Hammel is returning to #Cubs— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 8, 2014
On Jason Hammel, I'm told "he will be a Cub". So it appears that deal is done. #Cubs— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 8, 2014
Source: #Cubs finalizing deal for Jason Hammel. No confirmation from team yet— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) December 8, 2014
Here are the specifics on the deal:
Person involved in Hammel talks tells me that his deal with #Cubs is expected to fall in 2-year, $18M range. Likely includes club option.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 8, 2014
Man, talk about "putting the band back together." Who's next? Emilio Bonifacio? Jeff Samardzija?
Hammel put together a very good half-season in blue pinstripes. He won eight, lost five, and posted a solid 2.98 ERA and 1.021 WHIP. He issued just 21 walks in 108⅔ innings with the Cubs before being included in the deal that sent him and Shark to the Athletics for Addison Russell, Dan Straily, Billy McKinney and a player to be named later -- who, to my knowledge, has not yet been named.
If Hammel can repeat his half-year performance in Chicago as he returns, this will be an excellent signing. The cautionary tale, of course, is that half-season appears to be an outlier compared to the rest of his career. His half-season in Oakland more resembles his career pre-Cubs than his time in Chicago. His overall numbers also produced the best year of his career, with career highs in strikeouts, WHIP, K/9, and just missing a career high in innings (by two -- which he might have had if he hadn't been taken out of his final Cub start which was made just hours before the trade was announced last July 4).
The announced figures are quite reasonable in today's market and they don't commit the Cubs to Hammel beyond 2016.
So welcome back, Jason, and here's hoping you'll be as good for the next two years as you were in 2014 in Chicago. If the Cubs can also put Jon Lester in their rotation, it will become one of the better rotations in the National League.