Following a midseason acquisition, veteran left-hander Cole Hamels provided the biggest boost imaginable to the Chicago Cubs and the starting rotation.
By now everyone knows this narrative backward and forward. In the offseason, the Chicago Cubs signed Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood to fill the voids in the starting rotation left by Jake Arrieta and John Lackey. That clearly failed in 2018 as Darvish was sidelined with injuries most of the season and Chatwood couldn’t throw a strike if his life depended on it.
Searching for answers at the trade deadline, Theo Epstein made a deal with the Texas Rangers to acquire starting pitcher Cole Hamels. In the deal, the Cubs ended up sending Eddie Butler, Rollie Lacy and Alexander Ovalles to Texas for the left-hander. Talk about highway robbery for the Cubs.
The Cubs acquired Hamels in the midst of what was a down year for the 34-year-old veteran. With the Rangers, he compiled a 5-9 record to go along with a 4.72 ERA in his 20 starts. He had also given up 23 home runs, most of which came in the hitter-friendly Globe Life Park.
Chicago had plenty of reason to believe Hamels would return to form in a Cubs jersey. They thought that going from playing with a team in last place to one that had aspirations of winning a World Series would help rejuvenate him. On top of that, going from the American League to the National League usually works out in the pitcher’s favor.