Texas Rangers

The Rangers and Cubs agreed to a trade on Friday. But why was Cole Hamels name involved?

The Texas Rangers acquired left-hander Drew Smyly and a player to be named later in a trade with the Cubs for a player to be named later.
The Texas Rangers acquired left-hander Drew Smyly and a player to be named later in a trade with the Cubs for a player to be named later. AP

The Texas Rangers are linked to Cole Hamels again.

No, it’s not what you’re thinking.

The Chicago Cubs picked up the option on Cole Hamels’ contract for the 2019 season on Friday.

Hamels will make $20 million next season on the team option. Had the Cubs declined Hamels’ option, the Rangers would have been on the hook for $6 million as part of the July trade that sent him to Chicago.

Instead, the Rangers acquired left-hander Drew Smyly and a player to be named later in a trade with the Cubs for a player to be named later.

Smyly, who the Rangers view as a starter, didn’t pitch for the Cubs last season as he continued to recover from Tommy John Surgery in June 2017. The 29-year-old has a career ERA of 3.74, with a 31-27 record in five seasons with Detroit and Tampa Bay.

“We were able to do a physical as part of the transaction and we feel very good about his health,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “He should be on a normal offseason throwing program and be ready to come into spring training on a normal schedule.”

Originally selected by the Tigers in the second round of the 2010 June draft out of the University of Arkansas, the Little Rock native has a career record of 31-27 with a 3.74 ERA over 156 games/85 starts with Detroit (2012-14) and Tampa Bay (2014-16) spanning five major league campaigns.

Smyly has held left-handed batters to a slash line of .202/.243/.334/.578 in his MLB career, the 5th-lowest opponents OPS among American League pitchers since the start of 2012 (minimum 500 at-bats). He pitched for Detroit in the 2012 and 2013 postseasons, including a pair of relief outings in the 2012 World Series against San Francisco. Smyly also pitched for Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

This deal comes less than a month after Texas added former Cubs assistant general manager Shiraz Rehman to its front office.

The Rangers could face Hamels on opening day next season when they start their final season at Globe Life Park on March 28 against the Cubs.

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