Veteran lefty Rich Hill is available and maybe a return to the Red Sox is possible?
Left-hander Rich Hill will be 41-years-old next season and still is a talented pitcher when he keeps his health. Though, that is an issue and always has been including one Tommy John Surgery and reoccurring bouts with blisters. Hill is now a free agent and maybe the Red Sox should reach out to the Milton, Massachusetts native. Getting Hill would be a third time around for Boston.
The southpaw has certainly accumulated his share of air miles in his professional career which included nine organizations and a brief sojourn into Independent Ball with the Long Island Ducks. Hill has now registered 16 seasons of MLB ball under his cleats with a career 67-44 record and 3.79 ERA.
The journey for Hill has been extensive and much of it is mired in failure as he was always in the process of developing his style only to have injuries intervene. Since 2015, Hill has been sought after and has simply done the job when 100%. Last season in Minnesota was typical of Hill who tossed 38.2 innings in eight starts posting a 2-2 record and 3.03 ERA/3.99 FIP.
Hill’s previous four seasons with the Dodgers were quite impressive with 68 starts and a 3.16 ERA/3.71FIP, 2.8 BB/9, and 10.6 K/9. The final record was at 30-16 despite missing chunks of time over injuries. That is and will always be an issue when signing him. Just what will you get? What is known is whatever you do get will be quite positive.
The veteran has not lost any speed off his fastball since he never really had much jump to it. Not quite Jamie Moyer territory, but historically he tops out at the high 80s MPH and has been in that range since starting with the Cubs in 2005. Where Hill makes his living (and blisters) is his curveball and it is one of the best.
Right or left-hand hitters make little difference to Hill as lefties have a career .216 batting average and righties ten points higher. At Fenway Park, he has an impressive .184/.279/.255 slash so taking the mound at the lyrical little bandbox is no issue.
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With the Twins, Hill was on the pre-COVID-19 books for $3MM and the tally was a 0.9 bWAR. Now he is available and the Red Sox certainly need reinforcements on the mound since they have cut ties with Martin Perez. Hill recently spoke about the status of the Boston staff with Rob Bradford and WEEI radio in Boston.
The lefty would certainly provide some degree of protection depth that is quality and with Hill’s long MLB experience – often quite rocky – has the potential of tutelage qualities to the younger staff members.
"“Bullpen. Work on the bullpen,” he said. “I think the lineup is good. Get everybody back. Obviously getting Sale back is huge. Eddie, having him come back, being healthy. And Nathan. Those are three really, really, really good guys.”"
What Hill’s primary goal is winning and that means the ultimate – a World Series title. With the Dodgers, he twice went to the WS and twice came back with disappointment including a loss to the Red Sox in 2018. At first glance, Boston would appear to be a long shot to provide Hill with that WS opportunity, but Red Sox Nation has seen first to last and the reverse a few times in recent history.
The Red Sox should most certainly reach out and explore the possibility of acquiring Hill for 2021. The salary issue should also be quite manageable considering Hill’s 2020 compensation the dollars would not be an issue, but where it could stall is his desire for a potential WS team. That may not be a possibility in the upcoming season but a healthy Boston team can contend and put a damn good fight.