The Padres have placed veteran lefty Rich Hill on waivers, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. They’ll see if another team wants to claim southpaw — and the remaining $817K on this year’s $8MM salary in the process. If Hill goes unclaimed, he can remain with the Padres. They don’t have to outright him to a minor league affiliate.
Hill, 43, was acquired from the Pirates alongside Ji Man Choi prior to the trade deadline but hasn’t performed as hoped. In seven appearances with the Friars, he’s logged a 9.27 ERA, yielding 23 runs over the life of 22 1/3 innings. He was far more serviceable in Pittsburgh, where he logged a 4.76 ERA in 119 frames over the season’s first three months. Hill isn’t missing bats like he used to, with a below-average 19.6% strikeout rate against a slightly higher-than-average 8.9% walk rate.
It hasn’t been Hill’s best season, but he’s only a year removed from starting 26 games for the Red Sox and turning in a 4.27 earned run average with a slightly improved 20.7% strikeout rate and a sharp 7% walk rate. He wouldn’t be postseason-eligible with a new team, as players are required to be in their organization prior to Sept. 1 in order to qualify for that distinction. Still, a team in need of some innings down the stretch could certainly look to Hill as a veteran stopgap. He’s also voiced a desire to continue his career into 2024 — his age-44 season — so a quick stint elsewhere in the season’s final three weeks could serve as an audition of sorts for next year.
Hill’s recent performance and remaining salary give him a good chance at passing through waivers. However, if a team were to claim him, he’d have the potential to make some anecdotal history. The Padres are the 13th team of Hill’s career, placing him one shy of Edwin Jackson’s oddball record of 14 teams. If a new team claims Hill, he could tie Jackson’s mark and perhaps pass it this offseason, though that’s surely not of great consequence to him. (Immaculate Grid players, on the other hand, would surely welcome the record.)
In 379 career games dating all the way back to 2005, Hill has pitched 1400 1/3 innings, logging an overall 4.01 ERA with an 89-73 record, 23.9% strikeout rate and 9.1% walk rate. A new team and a potential offseason deal to come back for a 20th Major League season would give him a chance at topping 1500 innings and 100 wins in a career that’s been as lengthy as it has unusual.