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Royals sign Jason Hammel to 2-year deal

The starter will join Kansas City’s rotation in the wake of Yordano Ventura’s tragic death.

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

The Royals have agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal with starter Jason Hammel, as first reported by FOX’s Ken Rosenthal. The contract- includes a mutual option for 2019 and is pending a physical.

Kansas City has been considering a rotation addition all winter, though the club’s urgency increased in the wake of the tragic death of starter Yordano Ventura late last month. Hammel was known to be on the Royals’ radar even before the death of Ventura, with the sides increasing negotiations after the tragedy.

Hammel joins Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy and Jason Vargas as guaranteed starters in a rotation mix that also includes Chris Young, Mike Minor, Matt Strahm and recent addition Nate Karns. He was linked to the Mariners, Yankees and Braves during free agency before coming to terms with Kansas City.

Hammel, 34, became a free agent after the Cubs declined his $12 million club option as part of a mutual decision by the sides after a World Series championship. His market was slow to develop despite the lack of clear starting options available this winter, and was likely weakened by an agency switch (from Octagon to ACES) mid-way through the offseason.

Hammel posted a 15-10 record and 3.83 ERA in 166.2 innings over 30 starts for the Cubs last season, in his third campaign with the club. He 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).