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Cubs acquire Cole Hamels from Rangers, per report

The Cubs add an accomplished veteran to a rotation that was already very deep and experienced.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers Photo by Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs have acquired left-handed starting pitcher Cole Hamels from the Rangers in exchange for veteran right-handed pitcher Eddie Butler, minor-league right-hander Rollie Lacy and a player to be named later, as the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant and MLB.com’s Jon Morosi were the first to report on Thursday night, with the full return being announced by the teams on Friday morning:

It’s been a bit of a down year for Hamels, as he has a has a 4.72 ERA and 1.37 WHIP with 114 strikeouts and 42 walks in 20 starts (114.1 innings). He’s been particularly bad recently, having posted a 10.23 ERA over his last five starts.

As we wrote earlier Thursday, the addition of Hamels doesn’t necessarily satisfy a major need for the Cubs, as their veteran-heavy rotation was already having plenty of success. With that said, when you’re a team that plans on making a long postseason run, it can never hurt to have a former World Series MVP who has started 16 playoff games over a 13-year career.

It’s not yet known who Hamels will displace from the Cubs’ current rotation; based on numbers, the most logical candidate would be Tyler Chatwood (4.84 ERA, 1.75 ERA over 18 starts), but Mike Montgomery (3.73 ERA, 1.27 WHIP in 28 appearances and 10 starts) has lots of relief experience and could rather easily be shifted back to the bullpen.

Butler, 27, was a member of the Cubs’ rotation for a large chunk of the 2017 season, posting a 3.95 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP over 13 appearances (11 starts). Butler has missed most of this season due to a right groin strain but has made eight relief appearances, throwing for a 4.08 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. It’s possible that he’ll slot into the Rangers’ rotation immediately.

Lacy, 23, was the Cubs’ 11th-round pick out of Creighton in last year’s draft. In 18 appearances (12 starts) between Class A South Bend and High-A Myrtle Beach, he has a 2.45 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with 94 strikeouts and 24 walks over 80.2 innings. He was not ranked among the Cubs’ top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline.