So Jason Hammel Had Dinner in Chicago, Huh?

It’s probably nothing more than an average date night at a nice steak place, but seeing this tweet from Chicago Cut did cause me to retweet with one of those pensive emojis.

The first thing that jumps out at me here is that Hammel is wearing a hat, which is against Chicago Cut’s dress code. I know because I tried to wear a Cubs hat there while watching Game 6 of the NLCS and was told more than once to take it off.

Hammel owns a home on the North Side (or he did, anyway), so his presence in the city isn’t all that odd. But he has previously spent offseasons in the Rehoboth, Mass. area, which is close to his wife’s hometown of Providence, R.I. Then you consider that Hammel’s a free agent in search of a new team after the Cubs declined to pick up his option in what was supposed to have been a favor to one of the top pitchers in a weak market.

Does this mean a Cubs reunion is in order? I have been highly skeptical of that possibility all along, but I’m even more so after the Brett Anderson signing. The whole reason Hammel was allowed to walk was that the Cubs didn’t feel they needed him and everyone figured he could get more money and a longer deal on the open market. He’d also get a guaranteed spot in the rotation, something that isn’t possible in Chicago at this point.

Unless…could he be talking to the White Sox? Matt Snyder of CBS Sports mentioned the South Side as a good fit, particularly if the Good Guys end up going through with a Jose Quintana trade. The Orioles and Yankees, among other teams, have been mentioned too.

Circling back to the Cubs again before we close, I suppose there could there be enough mutual familiarity and respect to draw Hammel back on a bargain deal. All things considered, though, I’m still very dubious. If the Cubs could get him at a discount on the $12 million he would have commanded, he’d provide depth and insurance against Anderson’s iffy health. But there’s still plenty of time for the big righty to wait out the market and see whether injury, trade, or desire opens up the spot and contract he’s looking for.

Who knows, maybe he just had to swing by to pick up the rest of his Utz potato chips. What do you think, though: is this just a dinner or a sign of something in the works?

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