Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
For the fourth time in his career, Rich Hill is leaving the Boston Red Sox to join a new team.
After the 2012 season, the southpaw took a minor-league deal with Cleveland.
In February 2014, the Sox re-signed him to a minor-league contract, but then traded him to the Los Angeles Angels on July 1 of that year.
In August 2015, Hill came back on another minor-league deal, but when he became a free agent at the end of the season, he parlayed an impressive, albeit brief big-league stint into a one-year contract with the Oakland A’s.
Most recently, the Sox brought Hill back last December on a one-year major-league contract. Over 26 starts spanning 124 1/3 innings, he posted a 4.27 ERA and 3.92 FIP. Though his strikeout rate (20.7%) dropped for the second straight season and was barely above league average (19.9%), he lowered his home-run rate from 3.2% in 2021, to 2.9%, and was one of the only members of the pitching staff who was able to limit walks (7.0%).
Hill is one of several Sox players who became free agents this offseason but there was reportedly ‘mutual interest’ in him returning to the team for 2023. It made even more sense for him than most; the 42-year-old southpaw a native of Milton, MA. He was first drafted out of Milton High School in 1999 but opted to go to college instead. When his father, Lloyd Hill Sr., a local legend who ran the Boston Marathon 37 times, passed away in early April, his son paid tribute to him by taking the mound for an emotional Marathon Monday start.
Now, Hill will don the black and yellow of the Pittsburgh Pirates next season. They’re in agreement on a one-year, $8M deal that will reunite him with Ben Cherington, Sox GM from 2011-15, and Pirates GM since November 2019.
Rich Hill signing with Pirates puts him two spots away from tying unique MLB record
Hill is once again taking a step away from home, but he’s also one step closer to a unique MLB record. Over his 18-year career (so far), Hill has worn the uniforms of eleven different organizations. He’s spent all or parts of 11 seasons with eight different American League teams, and nine in the National League. The Pirates will be his fourth NL team, but his 12th overall, moving him into a tie with Matt Stairs, Mike Morgan, and Ron Villone for the third-most teams played for in MLB history. He’s one team away from tying Octavio Dotel, and two away from matching Edwin Jackson’s record of 14.