While the New England Patriots were celebrating the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history (and the first overtime game), the KC Royals were making another move.
After the Brandon Moss signing, the Royals hinted that they were not done, looking to add another starter and maybe a reliever.
On Sunday night, word came out that the Royals signed veteran starter Jason Hammel.
In a press conference that is set to start in the coming minutes, the Royals are set to make the Hammel signing official. Despite missing the end of last season and the World Series victory for the Chicago Cubs (due to an elbow issue), Hammel passed his physical earlier today.
The Hammel deal is for two years, with an option for the third year (2019) and a $2 million buyout. He is set to receive $16 million guaranteed, $5 million in 2017 and $9 million in 2018. He will also receive a $250,000 bonus if he throws more than 200 innings (something he has never done).
Hammel will be entering his 12th big league season. He has made 20 or more starts in eight straight seasons. He spent the last two seasons with the Cubs, starting 30 games in 2016. Hammel was 15-10 with a 3.48 ERA (the 15 wins were a career-high) and threw the third fewest pitches per start in the National League (he only threw 100 pitches in seven starts). That means that Hammel is not going deep into games, averaging just 5.2 innings per start over the last four years of making 30 starts.
The Hammel signing seems to fill the Royals starting rotation of Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Nate Karns, and Jason Vargas. I guess Matt Strahm will continue to be a big league reliever, unless they send him to the minors to continue starting.
The Royals have a full 40-man roster, so a move is coming. I am curious to see who that may be.
UPDATE: The Royals designated right-hander Alec Mills for assignment. This is a bit shocking and I wish him the best of luck (one of my favorites to come through Wilmington). Mills may clear waivers due to his struggles during his brief big league callup last season (walks were WAY higher than in the minors), but I think he is a legit starting option.