Orioles are now expected to compete year in and year out
It all started so well for Jason Hammel. In his first appearance for the Orioles last season, he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. In June, he threw a one-hitter, their only complete game of the season.
Despite knee injuries that caused him to miss much of the second half of last season, Hammel was still manager Buck Showalter’s choice to start Games 1 and 5 of the Division Series against CC Sabathia.
And, he was rewarded for his diligent work with this season’s Opening Day assignment.
This year started off well. He was 7-2 by Memorial Day, but lost his next six decisions. Hammel was put on the disabled list with a strained forearm, and came back and pitched a few times this month.
He got a save last week against Toronto, his first one in more than two years, but Hammel wants his future to be as a starter.
In April and May of 2012 and 2013, Hammel was 13-4. In June, July and September of those years, 2-10. He never won a game after June 22, and didn’t pitch in August for the Orioles because of injuries.
The injuries have depressed his market value greatly. This year, he earned $6.75 million and may have to take less than that for one year. It was the wrong time for Hammel to get hurt. Had he been healthy, he could have put himself in line for a three-year deal similar to what Jeremy Guthrie, for whom he was traded last year, received.
Hammel gets high marks for honesty and willingness to deal with the press and was a positive in the Orioles’ clubhouse.
He’ll probably have to wait for some time to be signed, and it would be a surprise it Hammel received a multi-year deal.