CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs are gambling a change of scenery and a pennant race will help Cole Hamels return to form.
The Cubs acquired the veteran left-hander from the Texas Rangers on Friday for right-hander Eddie Butler, minor league pitcher Rollie Lacy and a player to be named. The Cubs are responsible for paying Hamels $5 million.
As part of the deal, Texas will send Chicago $2,862,903 to cover a portion of the $7,862,903 remaining in Hamels’ $22.5 million salary this year. If the Cubs decline his $19 million option for 2019 and pay a $6 million buyout, the Rangers would pay the Cubs an additional $6 million.
Hamels is in the midst of perhaps the worst year of his career, going 5-9 with a 4.72 ERA in 20 starts with last-place Texas. He is 1-3 with an 11.12 ERA in four starts in July.
But the 34-year-old Hamels is an experienced playoff pitcher with a history of success at Wrigley Field. He was the NL Championship Series and World Series MVP when Philadelphia won the title in 2008. He is 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA in 16 career postseason starts.
“To be able to change kind of the mindset, now to go on a first-place team, there’s something inside of you that sparks when you get in those situations,” Hamels said at the Rangers’ ballpark after the trade was announced.