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Jason Hammel's Contract Option Declined by Cubs: Latest Details and Reaction

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2016

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24:  Jason Hammel #39 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at Wrigley Field on September 24, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Jon Durr/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs announced they will not pick up starting pitcher Jason Hammel's contract option Sunday.

Hammel's 2017 option was worth $12 million, according to Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago. The deal included a $2 million buyout, per Spotrac.

Hammel is coming off a season in which he won a career-high 15 games as Chicago's No. 5 starter behind Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey.

Despite his 15-10 record, elbow issues ensured Hammel was the odd man out of the rotation in the postseason as the Cubs went with a four-man group that helped them win the World Series.

The elbow problems might have played a part as his ERA rose late in the campaign.

After a seven-inning, two-hit shutout against the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 16, Hammel's ERA sank to 2.75. But in his final seven starts, he allowed 30 earned runs on 47 hits as his ERA rose to 3.83.

The 34-year-old vowed to come back stronger in 2017, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune: "I'm not happy with the way things ended, but for nine-tenths of the season, I was very good. I’ll take that into the offseason once the playoffs are done and add on to what I added to this (past) offseason."

Hammel now has an opportunity to join a pitching staff that will view him as more than a No. 5 starter. However, he won't be supported by the Cubs' powerful lineup.

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