Pirates Have Shown Interest in Jason Hammel

Jon Morosi reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates have shown interest in right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel.

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.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.epstein1 Sean Epstein

    Very interesting guy. Has never lived up to his potential. To me he is a guy who could thrive under Searage. In any event a WAY better option than Arroyo.

  • https://profiles.google.com/107500598404660809214 Kerry Writtenhouse

    I read somewhere that he is looking for a three year deal. I could see one year and an option of some sort.

  • Andrew

    If he shifts to greater two-seamer usage, focus on one breaking ball, is a Morton like upside possible?

  • csnumber23

    I’m not a big fan of this guy but I have confidence Ray could get the most out of him.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    I would much rather sign Hammel, than someone like Arroyo.

    • csnumber23

      I agree, I’m not huge on Hammel but I would have zero interest in Arroyo.

  • Jared

    This is exactly what I’m afraid of. Most of the starters left on the market, unless trade, are a major downgrade and make the pirates worse at the position than they were last year.

    • csnumber23

      Don’t forget about a kid named Jameson Taillon who is very close to ready. Burnett needs to make his decision so the Bucs can know where they stand.

      • Jared

        IF the Pirates were going to go that route, cs, I would rather them just go into the season with what they have and if they had to get a spot start because of injury, they have plenty of AAA depth as well as bullpen options who can start in a pinch.

        • csnumber23

          I agree completely! I still think the only position that must be addressed right now is First Base.

    • Cato the Elder

      Major downgrade from what, exactly?

      We went into last year w/o Liriano, Cole or Morton. More innings from those 3 (and less from Sanchez et al) is an improvement.Locke is still Locke, so that is a wash. So that is 4 out of our top 5 and I don’t see any significant downgrade (unless you assume regression, which may be warranted). It is hard to imagine getting less out of Wandy but, even if that is granted, that leaves us with waiting on AJ. If he doesn’t come back, then we sign somebody else like Hamel, which probably would be a downgrade, but one mitigated by more innings from Liriano, Cole and Morton (hopefully) and the arrival of Tallion mid season. It is all moot anyway, because I don’t really see what the Pirates could/should have done differently, anyhow. It’s not like there were other obvious alternatives that were not explored.

      I agree that the pitching staff will probably not be as dominant as last season, but that is because I see some regression (Liriano in particular) as inevitable. That said, I still think they will be good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.martin.9003 Bob Martin

    If he wants a 3 year deal, he won’t be getting that from the Bucs. So he won’t be coming to town.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    MLBTR says he would be open to a 3, but WANTS a 1.

    Could be a decent buy low candidate if the price is right. Definitely not a sexy pickup

  • IC Bob

    If my memory serves me right he seemed to pitched well against the Bucs. His numbers would indicate he hasn’t had much success against anyone else. I wouldn’t give him more then 1yr with an option but what do I know.

  • Y2JGQ2

    Hammel Will not get a 3 year deal from anyone. I would considering him, but probably not more then 2/6 honestly. Thank god Arroyo talk has died down, I just heard Mark Mulder is trying a comeback, i’d love to give him a shot at a non-roster invite, why not? Anyways…..lets not trade Justin unless we are getting something we don’t have in return, IE a top ranked 3B prospect, a SS prospect, or a ML starting 1st baseman. There isn’t a single other chip I’d take in return, period. I’m in on Logan if it doesn’t cost much, and by much i’m saying i’d give up Bell and not much else more valuable than that. I think Eric Chavez would be a great addition and I would love for him to come to us, if he is physically able to play third, i’d love to have him on my team. He’s a coach on the field who can still hit and play defense, i’d throw 2/7 at him. I still am in favor of Loney, and would love Loney and Chavez….. I probably wouldn’t go beyond 7 a year for Loney, but lets face it, anything else we go get is probably going to cost much more in terms of value in terms of trade value and maybe in dollars as well without any additional production. 2/16 or 3/21 would be the top for Loney

    • mblthd

      I’d think 2/7, i.e., no more than Garrett Jones, would be top for Loney – if some other team wants to give him $7MM a year, let them do it

  • https://www.facebook.com/scott.skink Scott Skink

    I’d seriously talk to Johan Santana before considering Hammel. In a tossup between Hammel and Pelfrey, I think I’d take Pelfrey.