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Cubs decline option on Jason Hammel

The right-hander will test free agency this winter and will receive a $2 million buyout.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs have declined their $12 million team option on right-hander Jason Hammel, according to a club announcement. Hammel is owed a $2 million buyout.

Chicago’s decision on Hammel was one of the more difficult option decisions of the winter, as many believed the club could bring the right-hander back instead of exploring the weak free-agent pitching market. Hammel will be a highly sought-after rotation option this winter along with free-agent starters Rich Hill, Ivan Nova and Jeremy Hellickson.

Hammel, 34, posted a 15-10 record and 3.83 ERA in 30 starts for the Cubs this season, providing a reliable option behind Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey. He signed a 2-year, $20 million deal with Chicago during the Winter Meetings two years ago, and posted two very solid seasons in his second stint with the club.

Hammel is a veteran of 11 major-league seasons with the Rays (2006-08), Rockies (2009-11), Orioles (2012-13), Cubs (2014, 2015-16) and Athletics (2014). He owns a lifetime 84-87 record and 4.42 ERA in that span.