By Sam Bush

It looks like former Phillies hurler Cole Hamels will probably end his career in Chicago.

The Cubs have picked up his option yesterday for the 2019 season.

Hamels will make $20 million next season on the team option. The Cubs had until 4 p.m. ET to make a decision on retaining him. Had the Cubs declined Hamels’ option, the Rangers would have had to pay him a $6 million buyout as part of the July trade that sent him to Chicago.

The 34-year-old Hamels went 9-12 with a 3.78 ERA in 32 starts in 2018. Hamels and his agent, John Boggs, have said they would be open to exploring a longer-term deal.

Hamels gives manager Joe Maddon a deep group of starting pitchers as the Cubs try for their fifth consecutive playoff appearance. Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Yu Darvish also are expected to return, with Mike Montgomery and Tyler Chatwood waiting in the wings.