Royals agree to two-year deal with P Hammel

  • Royals agree to two-year deal with P Hammel

Royals agree to two-year deal with P Hammel

Free-agent pitcher Jason Hammel and the Royals have agreed on a two-year, $16 million deal.

With Kansas City, Hammel will take the rotation spot of Yordano Ventura, who died in a January auto crash.

The 34-year-old Hammel, a former South Kitsap High standout, went 15-10 with a 3.83 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 166 2/3 innings for the World Series champion Chicago Cubs last season and likely will slot into the Kansas City rotation behind Danny Duffy and Ian Kennedy. Hammel is far from an optimal solution, but he's the best they could do on the free agent market at this late hour.

The Royals also have Jason Vargas penciled into the starting rotation, leaving one job up for grabs when they converge next week in Surprise, Arizona. He chose not to sign and instead attended Treasure Valley Community College in Oregon. Even with his remarkable performance during the regular season, Hammel didn't throw a single pitch during the Cubs' postseason as they won the World Series title with Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, and John Lackey serving as their starting pitchers.

The move generated a lot of positive press for Cubs President Theo Epstein and G.M. Jed Hoyer, and Hammel praised the duo for their handling of the situation as he exited the team following their title victory. Most of his stats were above his career numbers but he was left off the playoff roster due to the Cubs not needing a fifth starter. After the season, the Cubs declined a $12 million option on Hammel, making him a free agent.