Hammel inks two-year deal with Royals

Hammel inks two-year deal with Royals

KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Jason Hammel passed his physical on Wednesday and was introduced to the Kansas City media alongside general manager Dayton Moore at a news conference.

Here's what we learned:

The contract:

Hammel's two-year deal is backloaded, as expected. He will be paid $5 million in 2017 and $9 million in '18, with a $12 million mutual option in '19 that comes with a $2 million buyout. Hammel, 34, also will get, according to a source, a $250,000 bonus if he reaches 200 innings (which he has never done).

On whether Hammel was getting nervous about not having reached a deal this close to Spring Training:

"It was a strange offseason," Hammel said. "It didn't really go according to plan. It was the first time I had come off such a great season (15-10, 3.83 ERA), and I really didn't know what to expect."

Hammel stopped his answer there and interjected this about Yordano Ventura's passing:

Hammel on Ventura passing

"I feel a need to express my condolences to Royals nation and the Ventura family. I truly feel that if that unfortunate passing doesn't happen, you guys aren't talking to me. I'm going to do my best to not necessarily replace him, because he had such a bright future ahead of him, but I know what I bring to the table. And I want to win."

Royals ownership stepped up and eased the mandate to trim payroll, allowing the signing of Hammel, which will push the payroll past $140 million again:

"When we took the proposal to [president] Dan and [owner] David Glass," Moore said, "they said, 'Absolutely, do what you need to do. We owe it to our fans, to this team and this group of players. Let's sign the best pitcher we can.' … The Glass family always has been very supportive of anything we needed to do. You know, it's [David Glass'] job to validate our judgment, substantiate our judgment, ask tough questions. Obviously based on the circumstances, where we are with this group, we feel we will win. Once again, Mr. Glass said, 'Do you what you need to do to make this team better.' Dan was pushing that throttle down as well."

Hammel on evolving as a pitcher

Is there more flexibility to add more pieces?

"Right now, I don't think there's much left we need to do," Moore said. "This deal completes our rotation [with Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Vargas, Hammel and Nathan Karns]. There will be competition for some spots in the bullpen in Spring Training."

On Hammel's elbow issue in September deterring offseason interest in him:

"Without getting into detail," Hammel said, "that was kind of the holdup for a lot of teams. That's my guess. The fact of the matter is that I'm 100 percent healthy, and I had been. I wasn't on the postseason roster because we had a really good team with the Cubs."

On former Cubs teammate Jorge Soler, now a Royal, too:

"Great kid, fun in the clubhouse," Hammel said. "And he'll bring a big bat to the lineup."

Hammel excited to join Royals

On the pitch (slider low and off the plate) that Hammel, then with the A's, made to Salvador Perez in the 2014 Wild Card Game, hit by Perez down the left-field line for the game-winner:

"I made my pitch, as I've done a million times in my career," Hammel said, laughing. "He's a great hitter. Sometimes you tip your cap. That moment was his. He was able to -- big guy, big reach. I made my pitch, low and away. But I'm very excited to see him not do that to me anymore."

On whether Hammel met any Royals on Wednesday:

"I met Danny Duffy about 15 minutes ago," Hammell said, "and the first thing he said to me was, 'Are you ready to get weird?'"

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.