Jon Morosi reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates have shown interest in right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel.
Jason Hammel has received interest from Cubs, Pirates, Royals, Braves, source says.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 10, 2013
Morosi mentions the Cubs, Royals, and Braves have also expressed interest in the right-hander. I’d imagine the Pirates will be connected to a lot of starting pitchers with A.J. Burnett’s situation being uncertain. As we saw with Bronson Arroyo, showing interest doesn’t mean the Pirates are going to sign the player.
Hammel profiles as a number four starter at his best. From 2009-2011 he pitched about 170 innings per year. In the last two years he has dealt with injuries that have limited him to 118-139 innings. His ERA has always been worse than his advanced metrics, although it certainly didn’t help him that he spent most of his starting career in Colorado and Baltimore, two hitter friendly parks. He has a 45% ground ball rate in his career, although he saw a spike to 53% in 2012 after leaning more on a two-seamer. He stuck with the two-seam fastball in 2013, although his ground ball rate dropped to 40%. The 2012 season was the best of his career, with a 3.43 ERA in 118 innings, along with an 8.6 K/9 and a 3.2 BB/9. He might be worth picking up on a smaller deal with hope that he could get back to those levels.
Back in early November I listed Hammel as one of my bounce back starting pitching candidates.