On Friday, the Chicago Cubs bolstered their rotation by adding veteran lefty Cole Hamels from the Texas Rangers. In return, the Cubs sent two right-handed pitchers to Texas. Eddie Butler, age 27, is 1-1 with an ERA just north of four in his eight appearances in a Cubs uniform. He is currently in AAA with an 8.10 ERA. The other prospect, Rollie Lacy, is 23 and currently suits up for the Cubs high-A affiliate in Myrtle Beach. He is 5-2 with a 2.45 ERA and seems to be the better part of the return for the Rangers. Butler was a top-3 prospect in the Rockies system before becoming one in the Cubs pipeline as well. He’s had a cup of coffee in the big leagues, but his once promising potential seems to be mostly abated. Lacy, on the other hand, has impressive minor league numbers. In his career of 110 innings across multiple levels, he has a 2.45 ERA to go along with a SO/9 of 9.9, and a WHIP of only 1.06.
On the surface, it may not look like Chicago is getting much in the 34-year old southpaw. Hamels record is 5-9, his ERA is 4.72, and he owns a 1.37 WHIP in 114.1 innings thus far this season. But, his home-road splits tell a different story. Hamels has thrown 10 games at home, and 10 on the road. His ERA outside of Globe Life Park is 2.93, over 3.50 runs lower than his ERA at home. Hamels also has less walks, a lower WHIP, and a higher SO/9 ratio by nearly two K’s. He has a career line of 3-1 with a 1.76 ERA in six starts at Wrigley Field. Oh, and Hamels threw a no-hitter the last time he took the hill inside the friendly confines.
Overall, this is a great move in a lot of ways for the Cubs. It was no secret that the Rangers where going to be among the sellers in the AL this year, so the relatively pedestrian price tag attached to Hamels was right on script. The trade didn’t cost the Cubs farm system much, and brought in a great clubhouse guy who will, at the very least will give the production crew at ABC 7 a reason to play footage from the 2015 no-no.
Hamels will be able to slot into the Chicago rotation in place of Tyler Chatwood, who has had historic command struggles this year. Chatwood will move to the bullpen, making it much longer, which could play a factor heading into the dog days of August.
Cole Hamels is certainly not the Justin Verlander deal of last year, but he will be a solid, reliable left-hander in the Chicago rotation as they look to put more distance between themselves and the Milwaukee Brewers. Hamels is scheduled to make his first Cubs start on Wednesday in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. Theo Epstein strikes again.