OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: Cubs Trade Eddie Butler, Rollie Lacy, and PTBNL to Rangers for Cole Hamels

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OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: Cubs Trade Eddie Butler, Rollie Lacy, and PTBNL to Rangers for Cole Hamels

Chicago Cubs

It’s officially official: Cole Hamels is a Chicago Cub.

As expected, the return for Hamels is quite light, given his contract situation (owed about $8 million more this year, and then $6 million on a buyout of his $20 million 2019 option*; plus he could block trades to 20 teams), and his terrible results this year.

The Cubs are banking on his veteran presence, the reinvigorating power of a playoff race, the health of his arm, his good road numbers, and pitching in front of a much better defense to help him return to form. Even if he’s just a passable 5th starter at this point in his career, that’d make this a perfectly good deal for a team that needs some starting pitching depth (and needs another playable option). We’ll see how the Cubs elect to incorporate Hamels – six-man rotation, or Chatwood or Montgomery bumped to the bullpen?

Much more on Hamels here and here as the trade was developing. He last pitched for the Rangers on July 23, so you could see him making his debut with the Cubs this weekend, depending on how they want to set up the rotation.

As for the cost, we don’t yet know the PTBNL, but these kinds of in-season trades do sometimes have a nice list of players from which the other team will choose after they have some more time to scout and see progress/health. Don’t immediately assume it’ll be someone you haven’t heard of. That said, it’s not likely to be a better prospect than Lacy.

Luke discussed Lacy this morning, and although he was definitely a legitimate prospect at this point, he still had a very long way to go before he was a guy you were expecting to make the big leagues. Good luck to him.

And good luck to Eddie Butler. After a long absence from the Cubs, he finally returned … only to be traded. With the rebuilding Rangers, he may well get a shot to return to the rotation. Someone was going to have to be bounced from the roster anyway to accommodate Hamels, and, since Butler didn’t have minor league options left, it kinda makes sense that Butler was included in the deal. That’s not to say losing a guy who can swing in and out of the rotation is a zero loss, but the Cubs may well have lost someone in the roster shuffle anyway.

Per Jon Heyman, the Cubs are taking on $5 million in the deal, and if it is all part of the 2018 payroll, they should still have about $5 million to work with under the luxury tax cap if they want to add another reliever this month, and stray bench pieces next month.


*My guess is that the Cubs will retain that $20 million option on Hamels for 2019 if something goes REALLY crazy in the next couple months and they want to exercise it. In which case, the Rangers wouldn’t have to pay that $6 million buyout, and the Cubs would have simply paid $5 million of Hamels’ 2018 salary. Just guessing on this, and, since I think it’s virtually impossible for anything to happen in the next two months to make the Cubs want to exercise that option, I’m not going to give it too much more thought.


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.