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Chicago Cubs pick up Cole Hamels option, send Smyly to Rangers

MLB: NL Wild Card-Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs are getting the band back together for 2019. Per Jerry Crasnick, the Cubs picked up Cole Hamels $20 million option.

It is a solid move for the Cubs, keeping the 34-year-old lefty in an experienced rotation at the top. Hamels was struggling keeping runs off the board with the Texas Rangers to start the year due to an increased home run and walk rate, but those numbers came back to his career norms when out of the homer-friendly confines of Global Life Park.

Once Hamels joined the Cubs, he looked like 30-year-old Hamels as opposed to the aging southpaw. He posted a 2.36 ERA (behind a 3.42 FIP) with a 1.10 WHIP and a much lower 0.7 home runs per nine and 2.7 walks per nine. The strikeouts — which were at the highest rate since 2009 in Texas (9.1 per nine) — fell to the lowest since 2010 in Chicago, as Hamels struck out just 7.2 per nine, almost a whole strikeout below his career mark.

It’s definitely costly, but the veteran lefty has made more than 30 starts every year since 2007 with the exception of 2017. Hamels is a proven workhorse that can hit 200 innings if he’s healthy and showed he still had plenty left in the tank once in Chicago.

Crasnick also reports that Drew Smyly is on the move. He’ll head to the Rangers in what, for the Cubs at least, solves some financial issues. The Rangers in return receive a veteran presence in a rotation for a club on the rebuild. He should provide value in that alone.