Outfielder Derek Hill has gone unclaimed on waivers after being designated for assignment by the Mariners earlier in the week, the team announced. He has been outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma, but he’ll qualify for minor league free agency at the start of the offseason as a player who has spent more than seven years in the minors.
Hill, 27 in December, was a first-round pick of the Tigers in 2014. An excellent runner and gifted center fielder, he played his way up the minor league ladder but never found the offensive consistency Detroit had hoped. He’s reached double digits in home runs just once in his minor league career, and he’s increasingly struggled to make contact against higher-level pitching. Through parts of eight minor league seasons, he owns a .246/.315/.362 line with an elevated 25.7% strikeout rate.
Despite the offensive inconsistency, Hill played his way to the majors by 2020 on the strength of his glove and baserunning. He spent parts of three seasons in Detroit, compiling a .240/.291/.339 line over 254 plate appearances in intermittent playing time. He swiped nine bases and played over 600 innings in center field over that stretch. The Tigers designated him for assignment in early August, and Seattle nabbed him off waivers.
Hill has spent the past few months in the Mariners organization, but he didn’t make an appearance in Seattle. He instead spent the stretch run on optional assignment to Triple-A Tacoma, putting up a .236/.320/.462 showing with five homers in 34 games. Once he officially hits free agency, he figures to entertain some minor league offers with invitations to big league Spring Training.