Pirates Free Agent Target: Jason Hammel


As the Major League Baseball offseason carries on so does the Pittsburgh Pirates’ search for starting pitching help. One potential free agent target is right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel.

As has been discussed countless times this offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in dire need of starting pitching help. The Bucs have a great one-two punch in Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. They also have a strong back of the rotation starting pitcher in Chad Kuhl. However, they need two arms to bridge the gap between the top two and Kuhl.

One free agent starting pitcher that could help bridge this gap is Jason Hammel. The 34-year old Hammel is a veteran of the National League Central and coming off of one of the best seasons of his Major League career. And Hammel is still available in free agency.

Jason Hammel spent the past two seasons pitching for the Chicago Cubs. In 2014 he started the year with the Cubs and was trading to the Oakland Athletics at the trade deadline. Therefore, he has pitched in the National League Central in each of the past three seasons.

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The past two seasons with the Cubs has been arguably the best two year stretch of Jason Hammel’s career. During these two seasons he has averaged 8.43 K/9, 2.48 BB/9, 1.28 HR/9, and he owned a WHIP of 1.18 in 337 1/3 innings pitched. This led to Hammel owning a 3.79 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 3.90 xFIP, and a 3.9 WAR the past two seasons.

When he is on, Jason Hammel is strong number three starting pitcher. At worst, he is a reliable innings eater you can slot in as a strong back of the rotation option. Both of these are traits the 2017 Pirate rotation does not currently have.

During his Major League career Jason Hammel has pitched in the postseason for four different teams. These occurrences were with the Colorado Rockies in 2009, the Baltimore Orioles in 2012, the Oakland Athletics in 2014, and then the Chicago Cubs in 2015. Hammel did not make Chicago’s 2016 postseason roster.

While I am not always a huge believer in these types of things, I do believe having players with postseason experience is always a benefit. Especially one like Hammel who owns a World Series ring. More times than not, these types of players are great clubhouse guys.

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In my opinion, Jason Hammel is a free agent starting pitcher that the Pittsburgh Pirates should be pursuing. Hammel knows the National League Central inside and out and is a strong middle-to-back of the rotation option. And this is something the Pirates need.