Oakland was planning to use Hammel as its fifth starter, with Jesse Chavez heading to the bullpen, Susan Slusser tweeted earlier this morning. However, Chavez also gives the A’s an excellent fifth starter candidate should they decide to flip Hammel, be it for prospects or perhaps a Major League piece that could help deepen their current roster.
Hammel, 31, has struggled tremendously since coming over in the Jeff Samardzija trade. In four starts with the A’s, he’s yielded a 9.53 ERA and seen his previously excellent 1.9 BB/9 rate spike to 5.3. However, his overall numbers this year are still appealing to teams in need of a rotation rental: Hammel has a 3.87 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 40.9 percent ground-ball rate. Rival clubs may consider him a nice buy-low candidate.