Expect the D’backs to show an interest in Jason Hammel this offseason. Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Even though the team won only 64 games, the Arizona Diamondbacks probably will not be big players in free agency. With an excess of players both in the infield and outfield and an established catcher, the biggest need for the D’backs is in their starting rotation. While payroll constraints dictate they won’t be a player for a guy like Max Scherzer, there are plenty of mid-range options management could seek. One of those guys is Jason Hammel.
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Background: Hammel is a 32-year old right-hander taken by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 10th round of the 2002 Draft. He made his Major League debut with the Rays in 2006 and was a part of their 2008 American League Championship team. He has also pitched in Colorado, Baltimore, Chicago (Cubs) and Oakland. Hammel owns a lifetime mark of 59-70 with an ERA of 4.60. His most victories in a season is 10, accomplished three times and his single season high in innings is 177 2/3. There have been four seasons in which Hammel has made 30 or more starts.
2014 season: Signed a one-year contract with the Cubs in February 2014. He made 17 starts with Chicago going 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA. On April 22nd, he limited the D’backs to four hits and one run over seven innings en route to a 9-2 victory. Hammel was enjoying a career season until he was traded along with Jeff Samardzija to the A’s on July 5th. He wasn’t able to continue his early season success during his first few starts in Oakland. However, he posted a solid September hurling 25 2/3 innings in four starts allowing seven earned runs on 17 hits. Hammel even threw in a three inning scoreless stint in relief on September 18th. He finished the year with a record of 10-11 and an ERA of 3.47.
Can the team sign him? The D’backs desperately need someone to eat innings. However, Hammel has never hit 200 innings in a season during the course of his career. One thing Arizona can benefit from signing Hammel is his moderate success pitching in Coors Field. He enjoyed back-to-back 10 win seasons with the Rockies including being a member of the staff during their 2009 playoff run. Hammel won’t be as expensive as someone like Francisco Liriano. His name screams at a team like the D’backs. Don’t be surprised if Hammel is in Sedona Red come Spring Training.