Seattle Mariners rumors continue to hint that general manager Jerry Dipoto isn't quite done tinkering with the 25-man roster. One player who might be able to make a splash with the Mariners is starting pitcher Jason Hammel. A report by Yahoo Sports indicates that no team has emerged as willing to offer Hammel more than a one-year contract. This might just make him affordable enough for Dipoto to bring him to Safeco Field.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Mariners do have at least seven pitchers coming to Spring Training who will be competing for the five starting rotation slots. That includes Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton, Ariel Miranda, Nathan Karns, Chris Heston, and Rob Whalen. With so many questions surrounding those pitchers, it has created a murmur among fans that the team should still try to sign or trade for a reliable starting pitcher.
There had been other Seattle Mariners rumors, including the team getting linked to Jose Quintana of the Chicago White Sox. While the White Sox seemed very invested in dealing Quintana before Spring Training 2017, it doesn't seem like the Mariners could put together a good enough package of players to acquire him. That leads back to Jason Hammel, who might be an affordable option in free agency that the team could take a chance on for the 2017 MLB season.
Last season, Hammel pitched for the Chicago Cubs, helping the team get all the way to the World Series. Hammel made 30 starts during the regular season, posting a 15-10 record, a 3.83 ERA, and a 1.206 WHIP. In parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Hammel started 78 games, posting a 3.59 ERA and 1.143 WHIP during that time.
Rather than bring Jason Hammel back for another season, the Chicago Cubs decided to buy out his contract. While it cost the team $2 million to take that route, the Cubs were able to save a lot of money in team salaries. The expectation is that Mike Montgomery, who the team acquired from the Mariners, will take his spot in the starting rotation. Montgomery performed well down the stretch and into the postseason for the Cubs, likely earning an important spot on the 25-man roster.
Hammel turned 34 toward the end of the 2016 MLB season, which may have been a concern of the Cubs when the team decided to opt out of this contract. The team didn't use him in the postseason, possibly remembering rough outings he had during the 2015 MLB Playoffs. In one NLDS start against the St. Louis Cardinals, Jason Hammel only lasted three innings. Then, in the NLCS against the New York Mets, Hammel lasted just one-and-a-third innings in his only start. Those games may have created a lasting impression on the Cubs coaching staff.
Although signing Hammel would give the Seattle Mariners another right-handed starting pitcher, he does have the experience to pitch a lot of quality innings at Safeco Field. Examining his numbers a bit closer, Hammel has pitched in five games (four starts) at Safeco Field over his career. In approximately 23 innings of work, he has a 4.56 ERA, 1.352 WHIP, and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Hammel has also given up three home runs during those appearances.
If Jerry Dipoto can convince Jason Hammel to sign an affordable one-year contract with the team, he could be immediately penciled in as the fourth pitcher in the starting rotation. His track record may not strike fear into the hearts of opponents, but having a dependable guy on the mound every fifth game could really help out the bullpen. As it stands, while these Seattle Mariners rumors might be interesting to fans and fantasy baseball owners, there hasn't yet been an indication that Dipoto is negotiating with Hammel or his agent.
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