TODAY: Hill won’t reach a deal with the A’s on a new contract, Rosenthal tweets, making him likely to be dealt today.
Hill has been one of the most talked-about names on the trade market all season long but has scarcely been able to pitch since late May due to a groin strain and, more recently, a blister on his left middle finger. The latter of those two maladies landed him on the disabled list yesterday, and while the stint is expected to be minimal, it does cast a shadow on the club’s ability to trade Hill. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle characterized a Hill trade as a “long shot” today due to his placement on the disabled list, but she noted that the Blue Jays, Tigers, Dodgers and Orioles have all scouted Hill extensively (though Baltimore has reportedly struck a deal with the Mariners to acquire Wade Miley). The club would be happy to hang onto Hill even after tomorrow’s deadline she writes, adding that the club would consider a qualifying offer for Hill at season’s end. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal added the Astros, Rangers and Pirates to the list of clubs with interest in Hill (Twitter link).
That, of course, would represent a massive offer to a player that, prior to 2016, had never earned more than $1MM in a given MLB season. But, Hill has upped his game dating back to last September and pitched brilliantly thanks to an increased use of his curveball, pitching to a sterling 2.06 ERA with 10.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a near-50 percent ground-ball rate. Durability is a factor both in trade talks and extension talks, to be sure, but Hill’s recent results are difficult to ignore. Hill’s age figures to limit the length of any contract — more than two years would be a major surprise — but the fact that he hasn’t earned much in his career (relative to most of his peers) might actually play into Oakland’s favor, as any type of significant contract offer would figure to carry quite a bit of weight for Hill.