CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs are gambling a change of scenery will help Cole Hamels return to form.
The Cubs acquired the veteran left-hander and cash from the Texas Rangers on Friday for right-hander Eddie Butler, minor league pitcher Rollie Lacy and a player to be named.
Hamels is in the midst of perhaps the worst year of his career, going 5-9 with a 4.72 ERA in 20 starts with last-place Texas. He is just 1-3 with an 11.12 ERA in four starts in July.
But the 34-year-old Hamels is an experienced playoff pitcher with a history of success at Wrigley Field. He was the NL Championship Series and World Series MVP when Philadelphia won the title in 2008. He is 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA in 16 career postseason starts.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was in Tampa Bay’s dugout when Hamels led the Phillies past the Rays for the championship 10 years ago.
“He’s been pretty good. I’ve not liked him for a long time,” Maddon cracked after Chicago’s 7-6 victory over Arizona on Thursday. “He’s pitched some really big games against teams I’ve been involved with and he’s done really well. He’s a great competitor, got good stuff. But he just competes and he knows what he’s doing out there, so I’d have to rank him as a pretty competent major league left-handed pitcher.”
Hamels’ locker was cleaned out and his nameplate was gone when the media entered the Texas clubhouse following the Rangers’ 7-6 loss to the Athletics on Thursday night.
“He was a great teammate, a guy who was good here in the clubhouse, a good teammate,” Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos said. “He was a good player. Everybody’s going to miss him.”
Butler will join the Rangers during their series this weekend in Houston. Lacy, an 11th-round pick in last year’s draft out of Creighton, was assigned to Class A Down East.