Rich Hill Rumors

Quick Hits: Draft, Coffey, Hill, Bradley, Rockies, Gomes

Baseball America has released its list of the top 100 amateur prospects for this year’s draft. Interestingly, both Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde are still listed in the top ten, despite the fact that the pair of collegiate righties will enter the draft fresh off of Tommy John surgery. Here are some notes from around the game:

  • Free agent reliever Todd Coffey impressed in a workout today, throwing his fastball consistently in the low-90s, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). He could sign by the weekend, according to Passan. Twelve to fifteen clubs were represented at the showcase today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish lists some of the clubs in attendance. From the American League, the TigersMarinersAstrosAthletics, and Orioles sent scouts, while the Braves and Diamondbacks were among the NL clubs on hand.
  • Reliever Rich Hill of the Red Sox has an opt-out date from his minor league deal tomorrow, tweets Cotillo. The nine-year MLB veteran has been strong at Triple-A, throwing to a 2.84 ERA through 19 innings pitched with 10.4 K/9 against 4.7 BB/9.
  • Diamondbacks top prospect Archie Bradley is set to begin throwing and move towards a return to the rubber, reports Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona (via Twitter). GM Kevin Towers said that the club does not have any further medical tests planned at present for the young hurler. Given his current situation, it seems that the club will exercise plenty of caution in promoting the 21-year-old.
  • With the Rockies off to a hot start, Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post opines that the club should act decisively to seize the momentum by exploring a trade for Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija. While the price will surely be steep, Kiszla sas that the team should be willing to deal either of the team’s two prized young prospect arms — Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler — to make a deal.
  • The Blue Jays never saw in Yan Gomes the potential that has been unleashed since he was dealt to the Indians, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. In some part, says Davidi, that could be due to the fact that Gomes was buried in the minor league depth charts, such that he never caught more than 58 games in a single season. “Ultimately you wonder if we didn’t have other prospects that were so talented, if Yan had played more, would the development path have changed, would we have had a better feel for him?” Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said. “We were finding places for him to play, but he was never the everyday catcher because there was always someone else who was there.” Gomes, of course, has excelled (and been rewarded with an extension) in Cleveland after coming over with Mike Aviles in exchange for reliever Esmil Rogers“We always liked Yan,” said Anthopoulos. “Clearly he’s become a better player sooner than we would have expected. That’s not a slight against him, that’s a full credit to him.”

Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Wednesday

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

  • Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
  • Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
  • Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.

Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top).  

  • The Red Sox released left-hander Rich Hill this morning and then re-signed him to a new minor league contract, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports.  Presumably this move was made so the Sox could keep Hill and avoid paying the $100K bonus.
  • Ramon Santiago has been informed that he's made the Reds roster, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The 34-year-old will serve as the team's utility infielder.

Red Sox, Rich Hill Agree To Minor League Deal

The Red Sox and lefty Rich Hill have agreed to a minor league deal that will pay Hill $840K should he make the Major League roster, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). The ACES client also has another $500K worth of appearance-based incentives built into his deal as well as a pair of opt-out clauses, which fall on May 15 and June 30. The soon-to-be 34-year-old can become a free agent on either of those dates if he is not on Boston's 25-man roster.

Hill spent the 2010-12 seasons in the Red Sox organization but saw just 31 2/3 innings of big league action in those three years. Much of his time with Boston was spent recovering from 2011 Tommy John surgery, but he did come back to fire 19 2/3 innings of 1.83 ERA ball for Boston in 2012.

Last offseason, Cleveland picked up Hill on a minor league deal, and Hill wound up throwing 38 2/3 innings out of the Indians' bullpen. The results weren't pretty, however, as he posted a 6.38 ERA with 11.9 K/9 but a bloated 6.8 BB/9 rate. Hill briefly looked like he could be a part of the Cubs rotation following a strong 2007 campaign, but shoulder surgery and Tommy John surgery have halted his career as a starter.

If Hill can keep his command under control, he could carve out a niche as a solid lefty specialist. Opposing left-handers have batted just .215 against him in his career, but he's also walked 14.5 percent of the left-handers he's faced in his Major League career.



Central Notes: Kazmir, Jackson, Twins

Earlier today, the Indians granted Ben Francisco his unconditional release and added Rich Hill to the 40-man roster, meaning Hill is likely to break camp as a member of the Tribe's bullpen in the mind of MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Here's some more on the Indians and other Central division teams…

  • Indians non-roster invitee Scott Kazmir feels that he's pitched well enough to earn the team's fifth starter role, according to Cleveland.com's Glenn Moore (link includes video interview with Kazmir). The 29-year-old Kazmir has pitched in just one game since 2010 but told reporters that each time he was released allowed him to step back and examine what he needed to improve on to get back to his previous levels. Bastian tweets that between the Cactus League and "B" games, Kazmir has fired 11 scoreless innings with a 13-to-2 K/BB ratio.
  • J.J. Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com writes that the trade to the White Sox was a turning point in the career of Edwin Jackson, who benefited from pitching coach Don Cooper's tutelage. Jackson tells Stankevitz that he isn't fazed by the fact that the Cubs will be his seventh team since 2008. He's likely to keep that uniform for awhile, having signed a four-year, $52MM contract this offseason.
  • The money to be saved by delaying Aaron Hicks' service time is the "only justifiable reason" to keep him from opening the season as the Twins' center fielder in the eyes of 1500 ESPN's Phil Mackey. In a separate piece, Mackey notes that Darin Mastroianni is still pushing for the job, and manager Ron Gardenhire says no decision has been reached. Our own Ben Nicholson-Smith examined the service time considerations for Hicks and other members of Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list late last month.

Minor Moves: Dodgers, Tolbert, Hernandez, Hill

Here are today's minor league transactions, with the latest at the top of the page…

  • The Dodgers have invited 17 non-roster players to Spring Training, including infielder Brian Barden and catchers Ramon Castro and Eliezer Alfonzo, the club announced.  The trio were signed to minor league contracts within the last two months.
  • The Phillies have signed infielder Matt Tolbert to a minor league contract, Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports (and also recaps the rest of the week's minor league transactions).  Tolbert hit .230/.288/.319 in 680 PA with the Twins from 2008-11 and spent the bulk of his time playing second, third and shortstop.  Tolbert played for the Cubs' Triple-A team in 2012.
  • The Mariners have signed right-hander Moises Hernandez (Felix's older brother) to a new minor league contract, reports Chris Harris, broadcaster for the Mariners' Double-A affiliate (Twitter link).  The elder Hernandez has a 4.83 ERA over eight minor league seasons in the Mariners', Braves' and Orioles' farm systems.
  • The Indians have signed left-hander Rich Hill to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, the club announced.  After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011, Hill returned to action to post a 1.83 ERA, a 9.6 K/9 and a 5.0 BB/9 in 19 2/3 relief innings for the Red Sox last season but was non-tendered in November.  The 32-year-old southpaw has a career 4.59 ERA over eight Major League seasons with the Red Sox, Orioles and Cubs.

Quick Hits: Wilson, Giants, Upton, Hill, Red Sox

Condolences go out to the family and friends of Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who passed away this afternoon according to the Cardinals. He was 92. Stan the Man was a .331/.417/.559 career hitter who slugged 475 homers and was thrice named league MVP during his 22 seasons with St. Louis.

Here's the latest from around the league as Saturday turns into Sunday…

  • “I’m going to be brutally honest as I always am, I don’t [think Brian Wilson will return],” said Giants GM Brian Sabean to Anthony Sulla-Heffinger of The New York Post. Sabean acknowledged talking to Wilson's agent about a low-base salary, incentive-laden contract prior to non-tendering him.
  • Some teams interested in acquiring Justin Upton have been struggling to get a response from the Diamondbacks according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). There's plenty of interest, but offers haven't been easy to make.
  • Rich Hill told reporters (including Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal and Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald) that he is confident he'll find a big league contract on the open market (Twitter links). The lefty reliever has not talked about returning to the Red Sox on a minor league deal.
  • Larry Stone of The Seattle Times took an updated look at the Mariners' payroll, which currently sits just north of $78MM according to his calculations.

Red Sox Notes: Lavarnway, Padilla, Lester, Cherington

The Red Sox’s signing of free agent catcher David Ross has fueled speculation that they will move either Ryan Lavarnway or Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but neither catcher seems particularly concerned about the prospect, tweets Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  “I haven’t talked to anyone about it,” Lavarnway told reporters, including Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. “The final roster is still so far away that you don’t know what’s going to happen. I have no control over it, at all, at this point, so I don’t think about it," said Lavarnway.  Here's more out of Boston..

  • General Manager Ben Cherington won't say that the club is open to trading Jon Lester, but he didn't completely close the door on the idea, writes Tim Britton of The Providence Journal.  The Red Sox have reportedly had talks with the Royals centered on Lester and prospect Wil Myers.
  • Abraham (via Twitter) doesn't get the sense that Vicente Padilla isn't a priority for the club based on conversations he had with Red Sox people.  Last season, Padilla was one of the staples in Bobby Valentine's bullpen, posting a 4.50 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 50 innings of work.
  • Cherington says that the club will be working hard to strengthen the outfield with one or two pickups, tweets Abraham.  "We’ve always felt it’s important at Fenway to have not just somebody who can play right field but really two guys that can handle center or right. I think our best teams have had that in the past. Easier said that done. That would be optimal," Cherington said.
  • The GM went on to say that he expects the rotation to take a step up based mostly on the improved performance of the pitchers they have in-house, Abraham tweets.
  • The Red Sox would like to re-sign non-tenders Rich Hill and Scott Atchison, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
  • As we close in on the Winter Meetings, Cherington believes that it is still early in the offseason and expects to see things come together in the next week, Abraham tweets.

American League Non-Tenders

Here are today’s American League non-tenders. All decisions must be in by 11pm CT tonight. Be sure to track all tender decisions using MLBTR's Non-Tender Tracker. Related resources include our list of non-tender candidates, our projected arbitration salaries and our arbitration eligibles series.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.


Red Sox Notes: Hill, Ortiz, Epstein, Valentine

Eleven years ago today, the Red Sox purchased Jorge De La Rosa from Monterrey of the Mexican League. He spent close to two years in their farm system, then was traded to the Diamondbacks as part of the package for Curt Schilling prior to the 2004 season. Here's the latest from Boston…


East Notes: Hill, Hanley, Collins

The Red Sox finally received compensation earlier today for Theo Epstein's defection to the Cubs, adding reliever Chris Carpenter and a player to be named. Here's more on Boston and a couple other stray items of note out of MLB's East divisions:

  • The Red Sox added left-hander Rich Hill to their 40-man roster and placed starter John Lackey on the 60-day DL in a corresponding move, tweets Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. The move is a show of faith in Hill's recovery from 2011 Tommy John surgery, according to Britton, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets that Hill had an opt-out clause that he could have exercised early in Spring Training were he not on the 40-man. So, it appears the Sox didn't want to lose the lefty.
  • Marlins slugger Hanley Ramirez said he has no problem moving to third base to accomodate the arrival of newly signed shortstop Jose Reyes, according to Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post“I never said I’m not going to do it,” he said.
  • Mets manager Terry Collins is under contract through 2013, though Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal wonders whether the skipper will be retained beyond then if the Mets are ready to move past their current transitional phase.