Testy relationship with Maddon was reason for Hammel's departure


by - Senior Editor -
Jasen Vinlove - USA Today Sports
Jasen Vinlove - USA Today Sports

Former Cubs starter Jason Hammel agreed recently to a two-year contract with the Kansas City Royals worth $16 million with a mutual option for a third year.

Hammel was 15-10 in 30 starts with a 3.83 ERA including 144 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP in 2016. In two seasons with the Cubs, he was 33-22 with a 3.59 ERA in 78 starts. However, Hammel was left off the postseason roster in the Cubs historic run and it was clear that the team was going to go in a different direction as the team declined his $12 million option for 2017.

Most outside observers didn't realize how rocky of a relationship that Hammel and Maddon had in 2016 according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers.

"It became obvious -- and at times public – that Hammel and his manager didn’t see eye to eye," Rogers said. "Maddon pulled the right-hander from several games earlier than the pitcher would have liked. Hammel didn't make any of the postseason rosters. So after the World Series, the Cubs gave him the choice. He chose to leave, and sources close to the situation say that choice was as much about Maddon as anything else. That can’t come as a big surprise to those who have followed the drama for two seasons. Hammel simply felt his manager lost faith in him, and at that point it was time to go."

The Cubs will have Mike Montgomery, Rob Zastryzny, Brett Anderson, Ryan Williams, and others battle it out for the fifth starter in Spring Training.

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