Cubs bring back Hamels, trade Smyly


ARLINGTON, TEXAS – APRIL 04: Cole Hamels #35 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the top outfield the second inning on Opening Day at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 4, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Chicago Cubs have traded left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly and a player to be named to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named.  Additionally, the Cubs have exercised their 2019 club contract option on left-handed pitcher Cole Hamels.

Hamels, who turns 35 next month, was acquired by the Cubs from the Texas Rangers on July 27 as the headliner of a four-player trade.  He went 4-3 with a 2.36 ERA (20 ER/76.1 IP) in 12 starts with the Cubs, the seventh-best ERA in the N.L. starting August 1.  Hamels limited foes to a .226 batting average while striking out 74 batters and walking only 23 in 76.1 innings. 

The southpaw earned N.L. Pitcher of the Month honors for August after going 4-0 with a 0.69 ERA (3 ER/39.0 IP) in six starts, becoming the only lefty in the live-ball era to go at least 5.0 innings and allow no more than one run in each of his first six appearances for any team. 

Hamels is a four-time All-Star with a 156-114 record and 3.40 ERA (964 ER/2,553.0 IP) in 395 career appearances (394 starts) covering 13 major league seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies (2006-15), Texas Rangers (2015-18) and Cubs (2018).  The 2008 World Series and NLCS MVP is 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA (38 ER/100.1 IP) in 17 career post-season outings, including 16 starts.  Hamels has one career solo no-hitter, tossed on July 25, 2015 against the Cubs at Wrigley Field in his final start as a member of the Phillies before being traded to the Rangers six days later.

The 6-foot-4 Hamels ranks seventh among active pitchers with 2,415 strikeouts, ninth with 156 wins, sixth with a 1.17 WHIP and 10th with a 3.40 ERA, which is fourth lowest among all active left-handed pitchers.  Hamels is 36-17 (.679) with a 2.82 ERA (163 ER/521.0 IP) in 78 career starts against N.L. Central competition, his lowest ERA and best winning percentage against any of the six divisions throughout baseball.  Hamels also boasts a career 1.65 ERA (15 ER/81.2 IP) in 12 starts at Wrigley Field.

Smyly, 29, signed a two-year contract with the Cubs last December 12 but did not pitch in the majors in 2018 as he rehabbed from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in June of 2017.  The southpaw is 31-27 with two saves and a 3.74 ERA (237 ER/570.1 IP) in 156 major league appearances, 85 as a starter, covering all or part of five major league seasons with the Detroit Tigers (2012-14) and Tampa Bay Rays (2014-16).

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