The Rundown: Jason Hammel Calls Return to Cubs a ‘No-Brainer,’ Fujikawa Close to Deal with Rangers

The Cubs finalized the signing of right-handed starter Jason Hammel yesterday. And from the sound of it, Chicago is exactly where he wants to be.

He’s clearly happy to be back. “I knew from the day I got traded last year that this was going to be my No. 1 spot,” he told Patrick Mooney and other members of the media on Friday.

Hammel sees the potential of the Cubs organization, something Cubs fans have been excited about since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over.

He’s so confident in the Cubs’ future, he may have turned down more money to come to Chicago. “It was a no-brainer. If there’s more money out there, I don’t know. More years? I don’t know. But, honestly, I really don’t care, because I’m where I want to be.”

It’s good to see players taking notice. I understand that most times, money will talk. Not everyone will leave money on the table like Hammel possibly did. But it is a good sign.

And with Hammel signing a two-year deal for only a reported $20 million, it could be a steal. Especially if you consider some of the other free-agent pitching deals signed recently, such as Brandon McCarthy (four years, $48 million) and Ervin Santana (four years, $54 million).

I just hope Hammel can pitch like he did for the Cubs last year.

Other news

* Javier Baez went 2-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout in his second game in Winter Ball. He was the DH for the Cangrejeros de Santurce, batting third.

* Former Cub reliever Kyuji Fujikawa is close to a deal with the Rangers, according to’s TR Sullivan. Still a bit bummed he never lived up to expectations with the Cubs after suffering injury problems.

* The broadcasting deal with ABC-7 was made official on Friday. The station will broadcast 25 Cubs games per year for the next five years.

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