Rangers trade Cole Hamels to Cubs

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Hamels is 3-1 with a 1.76 ERA in six career starts at Wrigley.

Chicago entered the season with a solid on-paper rotation featuring Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and offseason signees Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood, but Darvish has missed significant time due to a triceps issue while Chatwood has walked more hitters than anyone in baseball. Hamels is due what's left on his $23.5 million salary, plus a $6 million buyout on next year's club option.

"He has pitched in some pretty big games [and] he's done very well", Cubs Manager Joe Maddon told reporters Thursday, as the Hamels talks were heating up.

The Cubs reportedly struck a deal with the Rangers to acquire Hamels, 34, for low-level minor-leaguers. Butler, 27, is 1-1 with a 4.08 ERA in eight appearances for the Cubs this season and 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Iowa. He is a great competitor and has great stuff.

It appears the Cubs will once again look to the Rangers for pitching help. Which will nearly certainly be bought out given that the option would pay Hamels $20 million next year.

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Following a walk-off win Thursday, the Cubs (59-42) boasted the best record in the NL and held a 2½ -game lead in the Central over the Milwaukee Brewers, who had been in first place for most of the past two months until the Cubs caught and passed them two weeks ago.

With Hamels in tow, the Cubs could also opt to move Chatwood into the bullpen in an attempt to get his mechanics smoothed out.

In his last home start for Texas before the deadline, Hamels allowed seven runs on Monday night against Oakland.

The deal for Hamels is their second trade with Texas in the past couple weeks.