Today, the Red Sox welcomed a familiar face to their organization as they signed relief pitcher Rich Hill to a minor league contract. Hill spent the 2010-2012 seasons with the Red Sox and his tenure in Beantown was marked by near-constant injuries, including Tommy John Surgery in 2011. When he did see the field, however, Hill was extremely effective out of the bullpen as he posted a 1.14 ERA over 31.2 innings distributed over his three seasons in Boston.
Hill was healthier in 2013 with the Cleveland Indians than he had been at any time during his time in Boston. He appeared in a career high 63 games, throwing 38.2 innings primarily as a situational lefty. However, he also was fairly ineffective for the Tribe, as he posted a 6.28 ERA and an atrocious 6.8 BB/9 rate (though he did strike out 11.9 per nine innings).
Hill’s deal will pay him $840K if he reaches the majors with the potential to add $500K on performance-based incentives. However, it seems fairly unlikely that he will see significant time in the major leagues. Andrew Miller and Craig Breslow are both effective left-handed relievers projected to be on the 25-man roster, and Hill still may be behind Drake Britton and Jose Mijares on the depth chart. He’s unlikely to see much time with the Red Sox, but it doesn’t hurt to sign him and hope that he can return to his 2010-2012 form, aside from the injuries.