It didn’t seem like Cole Hamels was likely to return to the Cubs considering they didn’t tender him a qualifying offer, but it is now reality that Hamels is leaving the North Side.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that Hamels has agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal with the Braves. The deal has since become official.
#Braves Sign Cole Hamels: pic.twitter.com/0H1lzw2YDk— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) December 4, 2019
The qualifying offer he would have received from the Cubs would have been $17.8 million, just under what he ended up getting from the Braves.
Most of the teams bidding for Cole Hamels weren't offering more than $15 million, but he had plenty of suitors before Atlanta stepped up.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 4, 2019
This now leaves the Cubs with a question as to who will be the team’s fifth starter next season. Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, and José Quintana are under contract and figure to lock in the top four rotation spots. Tyler Chatwood, Adbert Alzolay and Alec Mills all figure to be candidates for that spot.
Hamels turns 36 two days after Christmas and an oblique injury limited him in the second half of last season. He had a 2.98 ERA before the All-Star break and a 5.79 ERA in 42 innings after it.
Hamels was a big part of the Cubs’ push in 2018 when he had a 2.36 ERA in 12 starts after arriving from Texas just before the trade deadline.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream