Free agent starting pitcher Jason Hammel represents a good value at this point in the off-season. While high-profile guys like Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez are still holding out for big money, Hammel will likely be willing to settle for a lower deal as he tries to re-establish his value.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Hammel has had conversations with a number of teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, and that he might make a decision soon:
I’ve been told there are a handful of teams that have shown legitimate interest in Hammel – the Orioles are considered to be one — and he is closing in on a decision. However, since the Orioles don’t have a guaranteed spot in the rotation for Hammel – especially if they sign someone else – you’d think he’d go elsewhere because he’s always preferred starting over relieving.”
In 139.1 innings in 2013, there were some concerning drop-offs for Hammel. From 2012 to 2013, his K/9 dropped from 8.62 to 6.20. His FIP climbed from 3.29 to 4.93.
Some of that can probably be attributed to his elbow troubles. As a tall pitcher (6’6″), Hammel relies on a downward movement and getting on top of pitches, especially his offspeed stuff, to get outs. When he works underneath pitches, for injury reasons or otherwise, he becomes quite hittable.
If a team believes that is what happened in 2013 and that it is correctable, they ought to pounce at signing Hammel as a bargain guy for their rotation.