November 2, 2018 / 5:00 PM / 12 days ago

Cubs keep LHP Hamels for $20M

FILE PHOTO: Oct 2, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels throws a pitch against the Colorado Rockies in the 10th inning in the 2018 National League wild card playoff baseball game at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

Left-hander Cole Hamels is coming back to the Chicago Cubs in 2019.

The Cubs picked up Hamels’ $20 million contract option on Friday, the latest in a flurry of moves by the franchise restoring the roster that finished the regular season in a tie for the National League Central.

Hamels was acquired by the Cubs at the July trade deadline. Chicago sent prospects to the Texas Rangers in the deal, and Hamels pitched in vintage form for most of the final two months of the season.

Hamels, 34, was 4-3 with a 2.36 ERA with the Cubs. He struck out 74 batters in 76 1/3 innings over 12 starts.

To create salary space, the Cubs agreed to deal pitcher Drew Smyly to the Texas Rangers on Friday.

The Cubs faced a 4 p.m. deadline on Friday to pick up Hamels’ option.

Dealing Smyly, 29, cleared $7 million off the books. Smyly did not pitch last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He has a career record of 31-27 record in five seasons with the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays.

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