There are at least three teams making serious pushes to land southpaw Rich Hill, according to a report from WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. The Rays, Brewers, and Mets are each in pursuit of the veteran hurler.
Hill is closing in on his 41st birthday, but still spun 38 2/3 innings of 3.03 ERA ball last year over eight starts with the Twins. There’s little question he’s deserving of an important role on a big league pitching staff, even if it’s unreasonable to expect he’ll turn in a full starter’s workload over the entirety of a 162-game season.
While the results were excellent, Hill did show some worrying signs in Minnesota (with the obligatory short-sample alert). He managed only a 31:17 K/BB ratio, far off of the sparkling strikeout and walk numbers he had routinely sported in prior years with the Dodgers. Hill also shed a few ticks off his fastball — not that he has ever been reliant upon overwhelming velocity.
It’s not surprising to see the Rays and Brewers in the hunt for Hill. Both teams have moved away from traditional pitcher usage patterns in recent seasons and would have little trouble scheming up ways to maximize Hill’s unique capabilities. The Mets do not fit in quite the same manner, but could plug the ageless southpaw into the back of their rotation mix and plan to get him regular respite from the typical five-day pitching schedule.
One team is notably absent from the set of reported pursuers: the Red Sox. Bradford notes that the Boston organization has seemingly backed away from its initial interest after making other additions. That’s likely a bit of a disappointment for Hill, who resides in Massachusetts and has made clear that geographical location is one of his chief concerns (along with the ability to compete for a title). For what it’s worth, the Mets are obviously nearby and the Rays play frequently in the northeast.