Cole Hamels Dealt To Cubs In Exchange For Eddie Butler, Prospect
On Friday morning, they got what they were seeking.
The Cubs acquired veteran lefty Cole Hamels from the Rangers, sending back veteran starter Eddie Butler, pitching prospect Rollie Lacy and a player to be named later in return. The Cubs also received cash considerations to offset some of Hamels' remaining salary.
Hamels memorably no-hit the Cubs in his final start as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies on July 25, 2015. Now, three years and two days later, he’s headed to play on the North Side.
AUG. 14 UPDATE - The Rangers acquired minor league outfielder Alexander Ovalles as the player to be named later to complete the trade.
J.J. Cooper and Josh Norris contributed to this story.
Cole Hamels, LHP
Hamels isn’t the ace he once was, but he is still an effective pitcher outside of Texas’ cozy Globe Life Park. He was 1-7, 6.41 in 10 home starts and 4-2, 2.93 in 10 road starts for the Rangers this year. Hamels’ fastball velocity has declined and he’s increasingly turned to his cutter, but even when he struggles he still eats innings. Hamels is signed through the end of this year and has a $20 million team option for 2019, with a $6 million buyout. He immediately slots into the Cubs rotation with Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana.
Active Players On Pace To Set Career Milestones
By comparing each player's pace to historical precedent, we get an idea how lost games this season affect their chances.
Eddie Butler, RHP
Butler appeared to have his breakthrough season with the Cubs last year, going 4-3, 3.95 in 13 games (11 starts), but he missed more than two months this season with a right groin strain and was limited to eight appearances, all in relief. He came off the disabled just two days ago. Butler struggles with his control and generally pitches to contact, keeping the ball on the ground to limit damage. His low-90s, four-seam fastball and sinker and low-80s curveball are his primary pitches, and he also has a changeup and a cutter. Butler has a starter's pedigree and has proven able to handle long relief as well. He can slide into either role with the Rangers, and he won't be a free agent until after the 2022 season.
Rollie Lacy, RHP
Lacy served as Creighton’s Friday night ace as a junior and was an all-Big East performer before the Cubs drafted him in the 11th round in 2017. He went 4-1, 2.02 at low Class A South Bend before being promoted high Class A Myrtle Beach earlier this month. Lacy is a ground-ball extraordinaire who produced a ground ball rate of more than 60 percent in the Midwest League, best in the league by a longshot. He is a strikethrower with good sink on his 88-91 mph fastball, and he throws a fringy, slurvy breaking ball as his main secondary. He also has a usable changeup. Lacy's fastball command is fringy, which, combined with his lack of any plus pitches, has most evaluators seeing him top out in Triple-A. But he throws three pitches for strikes and keeps the ball on the ground, positive traits that could allow him to keep rising.
Alexander Ovalles, OF
The Cubs signed Ovalles for $300,000 out of the Dominican Republic last summer as a 16-year-old. He got off to a fast start this year in his first season of in pro ball, batting .316 with more walks (16) than strikeouts (14) in the DSL before going on the disabled list with a broken hamate bone at the end of June. Ovalles was one of the better hitters the Cubs signed in their 2017 international class. The 6-foot, 180-pound lefty has long hit well against live pitching, spreading line drives to all fields with gap power. He hasn't shown power yet, but has the potential to grow into some. Ovalles has a high overall game awareness and his instincts are evident in the way he plays center field. He is an average runner, so there’s some risk he may end up in a corner, but his defensive instincts are advanced enough to give him a chance to stick in center.