The Royals and Jason Hammel agreed to a two-year deal worth $16 million Sunday night, which will become official pending a physical. The deal will also include a mutual option for a third year.
The 34-year-old right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Cubs, pitching in the back of the top rotation in baseball. He finished the season with a 15-10 record and a 3.83 ERA over 166.2 innings pitched.
Despite starting 30 games for the club in the regular season, he did not make a single appearance in the postseason as part of their World Series run. The Cubs would then decline the $10 million club option in his contract, making him a free agent.
This will be the sixth team Hammel has pitched for in his 11-year career, as he will join a Royals rotation that consists of Ian Kennedy, Danny Duffy, Jason Vargas and Nathan Karns. Former Braves top prospect Mike Minor and veteran Chris Young should also be in the mix to earn a rotation spot this spring.
This announcement comes a week after the Royals signed slugger Brandon Moss to a two-year deal, which was their first major move in free agency. The Royals had been reluctant to spend money earlier in the offseason with many of their core players in contract years, yet the tragic death of Yordano Ventura left a gap in their rotation that needed to be filled.
Hammel’s past three seasons have been the most productive of his career, finishing each of these seasons with a sub-4 ERA and at least 165 innings pitched.
He had likely been waiting to get a multi-year offer from a team, as he reportedly declined a one-year offer from the Mariners earlier this offseason. He was considered to be the most talented starting pitcher left on the market, with Doug Fister and Colby Lewis being the only other notable options.*
*Statistics from MLB.com
-Featured image from Chicago Tribune