Just when it seemed like the Cubs might be missing out on the big names at the deadline this season, the New York Post's Joel Sherman reports the Cubs and Rangers are attempting to land starter Cole Hamels.
The 34-year-old lefty is past his prime and in the midst of his worst season in the majors with a 4.72 ERA and a 5.20 FIP, Hamels is not the same guy the Rangers acquired from the Phillies in 2015 - or the same guy who no-hit the Cubs in 2015.
And because of that, it sounds like the Cubs could be getting Hamels for cheap, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon had some choice words on Hamels, who the Cubs skipper has a bit of a history with.
"He's been pretty good. I've not liked him for a long time," Maddon said. "He's pitched some really big games against teams I've been involved with and has done really well. He's a great competitor. Got good stuff, but he competes and he knows what he's doing out there. So I have to rank him as a pretty competent left-handed pitcher."
Over the last two seasons, Hamels has shown signs of a regressing veteran who's struggled to keep the ball on the ground, with a home run/fly ball rate at a staggering 20.7% - more than double the league average. Hamels groundball rate has also steadily declined and is currently the lowest it's been since 2013 at 43.4%, which doesn't scream blockbuster deal.
However, Hamels has gone six innings or more in 12 of his 20 starts for the Rangers this season and has only had less than five strikeouts in four of those outings. What makes things dicey for the Cubs is Hamels' contract, which includes a 2019 option for $20 mil with a $6 million buyout.
So if Hamels does flounder in Chicago, the Cubs can get out from under his contract, but it will cost them $6 million which isn't a hefty price but something the Cubs will try to negotiate with the Rangers about keeping some of his Hamels' salary.
Between rest of salary this yr plus buyout on 2019 option, Hamels owed roughly $14.2M. Hear that if deal with #Cubs goes thru they will pick up about $4M and give up secondary prospects. But NO deal is in place yet, Cubs just more involved than other suitors.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 26, 2018
There isn't a true deal in sight yet, and as Sherman says, the Rangers are still talking with other suitors but Hamels has been on the Cubs radar before. Expect the Cubs to continue to pop in more conversations as the front office hunts for more arms.