Cole Hamels Open To Extension With Cubs

The Cubs hold a $20-million team option on Hamels.

Bruce Levine
October 29, 2018 - 7:08 pm
Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels

Quinn Harris/USA Today Sports

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(670 The Score) The MLB offseason is upon us, as 146 MLB players were declared free agents in a listing sent out by the union Monday. 

That list could grow depending on how team and players options are exercised in the upcoming days. Not on that initial list was left-hander Cole Hamels, on whom the Cubs hold a $20-million team option for 2019 after acquiring him from the Rangers in July. The Cubs must make a decision on that option by Thursday.

If the Cubs don't pick up the $20-million option, the Rangers would be on the hook for the 34-year-old Hamels' $6-million buyout, per terms on the contract.

If the Cubs pick up Hamels' option, they can begin negotiating a longer extension with him as early as Friday. If the Cubs choose not to pick up Hamels' option and then turn around and sign him to a new contract right away anyway, they could have to fend off a possible grievance from the Rangers, who would be on the hook for the $6-million buyout in that situation.

A middle ground could also involve sending the Rangers some sort of compensation. The first step in everything is the Cubs exercising or declining Hamels' option.

"Cole enjoyed his experience playing with the Cub this season," Boggs told 670 The Score on Monday. "We are waiting to hear from them on what they plan to do. We are certainly open to anything that makes sense for Cole and the Cubs going forward."

Hamels went 4-3 with a 2.36 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 12 starts for the Cubs down the stretch. That came after he had a rocky performance earlier in the season, going 5-9 with a 4.72 ERA in 20 starts for the Rangers.

Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were impressed with Hamels' work on the field as well as his leadership in the Cubs' clubhouse.

"We are looking to have as much depth as possible in our rotation," Epstein said on Oct. 3. "We are not looking to get rid of starting pitchers. We are looking to have as much depth as possible so we can withstand multiple injuries."

The Cubs' payroll commitment will be close to $210 million in 2019 if they pick up the $20-million option on Hamels and the $6.5-million option on reliever Pedro Strop. That figure also projects for arbitration raises for some key players. 

Boggs and Hamels are hoping for a good outcome for all parties involved.

"The Cubs told me that Cole was an excellent addition to the team and the clubhouse," Boggs said. "We will just sit and wait for a decision."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.​​​