Sep 25, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Jason Hammel (39) throws in the ninth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Blue Jays 9-5. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Interested in Jason Hammel

Sep 20, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Jason Hammel (39) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals front office has said that they are not satisfied with the team just yet. Dayton Moore has stated that they not only want to add an impact bat, but would be interested in adding another starting pitcher. With the Jason Vargas signing seemingly intended to replace Bruce Chen in the rotation as opposed to replacing Ervin Santana, there is still a possible opening for another top of the rotation arm. With pitchers such as Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez and Matt Garza available, there are certainly options to consider.

Instead, of setting their sights upon one of the better options in free agency, it appears as though the Royals have other plans. It was reported yesterday that the Royals, along with three other teams, have interest in signing former Orioles, Rays and Rockies pitcher Jason Hammel. This is the Royals option to upgrade the rotation?

Over Hammel’s career, he has put together a 49-59 record with a 4.80 ERA, striking out 6.5 batters per nine against 3.1 walks per nine innings. Yes, Hammel played in Colorado, but his numbers were actually better in Colorado than his career marks. In fact, the three years he spent with the Rockies provided thee of the five lowest ERAs that he put together in a season.

Where Jason Hammel becomes interesting is from his 2012 season. After being a generally mediocre starter throughout his career, he put everything together in his first season with the Orioles, going 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA, striking out nearly a batter an inning. However, as he fought through an injury plagued season in 2013, he was unable to replicate that success, going 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA. His velocity was within one MPH of where it had been the previous season, indicating that pitch speed may not have been the problem. Seemingly, the biggest difference was how Hammel went away from his sinker as the 2013 season progressed, relying more upon his fastball and slider. For as much as the opposition was hitting his sinker, Hammel was not fooling anyone with the fastball or slider either, as the opposition hit over .300 against both pitches in 2013.

Hammel is reportedly looking for a one year deal, but could be open to a three year contract with the right team. It may very well be that the injuries he pitched through last season were the reason as to why his performance fell off that drastically. Or, it could be that Hammel’s 2012 season was very much the outlier for his career. With pitchers such as Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy potentially ready to claim spots in the rotation, is Hammel really an upgrade? Not with his track record.

Jason Hammel is likely to be a reclamation project for some team. However, for a team that is claiming to be intent on competing and looking for an upgrade in their rotation, Hammel just is not that type of pitcher.

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  • Chad Woelk

    If this guy was signed I would not be excited one bit.

  • jimfetterolf

    Off topic, but on the subject of trade value for relievers, saw that the As traded lefty reliever Blevins for a AA high OBP OF named Burns from the Nats. Gives an idea of a ballpark value for Collins.

    As for Hammels, one year cheap with lots of incentives, at most. Still don’t want anyone blocking the Young Guns, but a couple of months to prove himself, then get flipped when Zimmer is ready.

  • unclejesse40

    I still want to see the royals sign a reclamation project pitcher this year. I like a lottery ticket guy that if it isnt there you simple cut him. if he regains something than you ride it or you trade it. Johan Santana or Jason Hammels would be interesting, not as huge on Shaun Marcum after seeing how much he has fallen off, but minor league deal wouldnt hurt my feelings.

    • Dave Hill

      I would *love* a Johan signing, but I don’t know that the Royals are willing to go that route. Or that Santana would want to come to KC, especially since the Twins might have interest. He may want to go back to where his career started.

  • LGB

    I would be okay with this. You know you will get roughly average but a chance he could be like he was in 2012. He won’t block any of the young guns and hopefully if they sign him it would guarantee no hoch in the roatation. Shields. Duffy. Gurthrie. Vargas. And Hammel if he is good is spring training. Zimmer and ventura start year in AAA and can come up if Hammel doesn’t work out. I don’t want that many young pitchers in the rotation at the beginning of the year cause of inning limits. Also the royals have been known to promote pitchers to fast and totally ruin thim