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Jason Hammel makes Rangers roster, then announces retirement

An odd sequence of events for the former Cubs righthander.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cubs righthander Jason Hammel spent this spring training season in Rangers camp. He made four appearances (two starts) and threw pretty well: 4.15 ERA, 1.077 WHIP, 12 strikeouts in 13 innings.

Friday, the Rangers announced that Hammel had made their Opening Day roster, as a long reliever.

That didn’t last long:

Hammel pitched in parts of three seasons for the Cubs from 2014-16, finishing his Cubs career with a 33-22 record, a 3.59 ERA, 1.143 WHIP and 6.0 bWAR, by far his best performance for any of the six teams he pitched for (also Rays, Rockies, Royals, Orioles and Athletics). His best year was 2016: 15-10, 3.83 ERA, 1.206 WHIP and 1.3 bWAR. He pitched for the Cubs in the 2015 postseason, and got a World Series ring even though he wasn’t on the Cubs’ postseason roster in 2016.

I’ll remember him as the guy who needed to eat more potato chips to avoid having muscle cramps during starts. One game which he left early with cramps was May 30, 2016, when he departed after one inning and he, Travis Wood, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon combined to one-hit the Dodgers.

And there was also this magic moment with Hammel and then-Cubs manager Rick Renteria in 2014:

Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images

When Hammel left the Cubs as a free agent following 2016, he took out a full-page ad in the Tribune thanking Cubs fans and the city of Chicago, a classy thing to do. In it he wrote:

Dear Cubs fans,

Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for all the love and support you have given us over the past three years. I can’t adequately describe what it was like to step on the mound at Wrigley every fifth day and pitch in the greatest park, in the greatest city, in front of the greatest fans on the planet!

Our time in Chicago was much more than that. It wasn’t just the baseball connection to the city that we’ve cherished; Chicago became our home, and you became our neighbors.

While the Cubs’ chapter of our lives is now closed, the memories and friendships we have made here will last forever.

Our sincere thanks to Tom, Laura and the entire Ricketts family, and to Theo, Jed and the Cubs’ front office for treating us like family. We understand the business side of the game can sometimes force tough decisions, and we thank you for handling it with professionalism and integrity.

Finally, thank you to the coaches and staff, and to my teammates, who became my brothers. We were so fortunate to have been part of an organization that is run with as much class as the Chicago Cubs — the 2016 World Series Champions!

With love, the Hammels

Jason, Elissa and family

Hammel finishes his career with 96 wins, a 4.52 ERA, 1,428 strikeouts, 12.8 bWAR and that World Series ring. I’ll remember his Cubs tenure fondly. Best wishes to Jason and Elissa Hammel and their family.