Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels

Quinn Harris/USA Today Sports

Epstein: Cubs 'Absolutely' Want Hamels Back

The Cubs hold a $20-million team option on Cole Hamels for 2019.

October 03, 2018 - 4:08 pm

(670 The Score) The Cubs "absolutely" want to bring back left-hander Cole Hamels, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said at his end-of-season press conference Wednesday.

The Cubs hold a $20-million team option on the 34-year-old Hamels for 2019, with a $6-million buyout.

"Cole was such a breath of fresh air for us," Epstein said. "He made an unbelievable impression. I think for a guy who has only been here for a couple months, he's as universally respected in that room as anyone I've ever seen. He's a pro's pro and contributed tremendously on the field and off the field with a great engaged, accountable, positive presence in that clubhouse who really cares about his teammates and helped make them better by example and by discussion too. He's absolutely someone we'd love to have as part of the mix going forward."

Acquired by the Cubs from the Rangers in a late July trade, Hamels went 4-3 with a 2.36 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 12 starts for Chicago down the stretch. He also threw two scoreless innings in the team's 2-1 loss to the Rockies in the National League wild-card game Tuesday night.

Hamels' superb work with the Cubs came after struggles with the Rangers, for whom he went 5-9 with a 4.72 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 20 starts this season. He made a couple mechanical adjustments with the Cubs, and his fastball velocity increased as well.

Hamels projects to be a back-end starter, behind the likes of Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana. The Cubs also expect to get a healthy Yu Darvish back.