Heading into the offseason, the Boston Red Sox are running on empty.
Unfortunately, the starting pitching market isn’t exactly bursting at the seams this offseason, so the expectation is that the Sox will make a concerted effort to upgrade their rotation, which currently consists of Nick Pivetta, Brayan Bello, Chris Sale (if he’s healthy), and maybe, possibly Josh Winckowski. James Paxton could very well opt into his player option if the Sox are smart enough to decline his club option, but he can’t be factored into any real strategy or planning at this point. And of course, there’s a chance that they bring back at least one of their soon-to-be free agents, Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Wacha, and/or Rich Hill.
As of yet, Eovaldi seems unlikely. The 2018 postseason hero revealed during the season that the Sox hadn’t tried to initiate any extension talks. Wacha had a very solid year, but many of his advanced metrics and struggles in previous years cast doubt on whether this was simply an aberration.
Will the Red Sox re-sign Rich Hill for 2023?
Hill, the 42-year-old,18-year MLB vet might actually be the most realistic of the three. When the Massachusetts native stopped by the Bradfo Sho this week, he revealed that he and some front office folks have been hanging out and chatting about the future:
"“We’ve talked and had lunch with a few of the guys in the front office, and understand that there’s a mutual interest there. Being able to stay home would be great.”"
Hill was born and raised in Milton, MA. The southpaw was originally drafted out of Milton High School in the 1999 June draft but elected to go to college instead and also turned down the Anaheim Angels in the 2001 June draft, before he finally signed with the Chicago Cubs when they selected him in the fourth round the following spring and he debuted with them in 2005.
Including the Cubs, he’s pitched for 11 big-league teams, and since his one-year stint with the Baltimore Orioles in 2009, he’s worn the uniforms of four-fifths of the American League East, only missing the Toronto Blue Jays.
But Boston has always been home. Hill’s father, Lloyd Hill Sr, was also a Milton native. He ran an astounding 37 Boston Marathons and was a pillar of the community. When he passed away the Friday before the marathon at 94, his son honored him by pitching on Marathon Monday.
If the Sox were to bring Hill back next season, it would technically be his fourth stint with the team in his 18-year career, as his 2022 contract was only for one year with no options.
The 2022 team was a disaster in large part because of their pitching or lack thereof. But Hill, who will turn 43 on March 11, has been largely steady for years. He posted a 4.27 ERA over 124 1/3 innings but actually held opposing batters to lower home run and walk percentages and hard-hit rates than last season. He held teams to two runs or less in more than half of his starts and the Sox went 14-12 in his games.