1/31 Cubs and pitching
The Cubs appear to be stockpiling more pitching. FOX Sports and MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported the Cubs had signed free agent pitcher Jason Hammel to a one-year, $6 million contract, pending a physical. The Cubs also have reportedly signed free agent pitcher James McDonald to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training. The Cubs would not confirm the reports.
In the last two seasons, the Cubs have signed free agent pitchers such as Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman, and then flipped them at the Trade Deadline for young prospects. They also dealt Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza the last two years, and were able to acquire young talent to the organization.
Hammel, 31, posted some of the best numbers of his career in 2012, going 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 118 innings over 20 starts for the Orioles. He took a step back in 2013, however, finishing 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA in 139 1/3 innings over 26 appearances (23 starts). Part of the problem may have been injury as Hammel was on the disabled list because of tenderness in his right forearm.
From 2009-11, Hammel proved to be a durable back-of-the-rotation starter with the Rockies, throwing at least 170 innings in each of those three seasons while posting a 27-30 record and 4.63 ERA, inflated by hitter-friendly Coors Field. Overall in parts of eight big-league seasons with the Rays, Rockies and Orioles, the right-hander has gone 49-59 with a 4.80 ERA in 989 1/3 innings.
McDonald, 29, was limited to six games last season with the Pirates because of shoulder issues, and posted a 2-2 record and 5.76 ERA. The right-hander was designated for assignment in September, and outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis but refused that assignment, and elected free agency.