We are still more than a week from Memorial Day, and the Chicago Cubs are 13 games out of first place. It’s not as if the Cubs were viewed as viable playoff contenders to begin with, but a 13-27 record only enhances the speculation that Theo Epstein will be a deadline seller.
Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com examines other North Siders who could be on the move, beginning with right-hander Jason Hammel, whose ERA is just 3.06 after a rough outing against the Cardinals Thursday in which he allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Hammel is an intriguing option who could interest teams unwilling or unable to pay a premium for Samardzija. Epstein and Jed Hoyer acquired highly rated prospects in Mike Olt and Justin Grimm in dealing away Matt Garza last summer, and will be looking for a similar haul when dealing their current ace.
Hammel, a free-agent-to-be who is making $6 million this season, could be a more reasonably priced alternative for a club such as Baltimore or Tampa Bay. The problem is Hammel’s value will only rise if 20014 turns into a career season.
Rogers has more on Hammel's value:
"Hammel is a big, physical presence who can fit nicely in the middle to back end of a contending team's rotation. He can fetch the Cubs a B-plus/A-minus type prospect if things keep going in the right direction. That was no sure thing when he was signed last offseason."