After spending nearly three seasons in Chicago, Jason Hammel's time with the Cubs has come to an end after the team declined his $12 million option this week.
Hammel, a 15-game winner who failed to crack the Cubs' postseason roster, will hit the open market and become a free agent.
The 34-year-old starting pitcher took out a full-page ad in Thursday's edition of the Chicago Tribune to thank Cubs fans for his time in Chicago.
Dear Cubs fans,
Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for all the love and support you have given us over the past three years. I can’t adequately describe what it was like to step on the mound at Wrigley every fifth day and pitch in the greatest park, in the greatest city, in front of the greatest fans on the planet!
Our time in Chicago was much more than that. It wasn’t just the baseball connection to the city that we’ve cherished; Chicago became our home, and you became our neighbors.
While the Cubs’ chapter of our lives is now closed, the memories and friendships we have made here will last forever.
Our sincere thanks to Tom, Laura and the entire Ricketts family, and to Theo, Jed and the Cubs’ front office for treating us like family. We understand the business side of the game can sometimes force tough decisions, and we thank you for handling it with professionalism and integrity.
Finally, thank you to the coaches and staff, and to my teammates, who became my brothers. We were so fortunate to have been part of an organization that is run with as much class as the Chicago Cubs — the 2016 World Series Champions!
With love, the Hammels
Jason, Elissa and family