Pirates and Rich Hill sign one-year deal

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The Pirates and the Lefty rich hill are agreed on a one-year, $8 million contract, reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan🇧🇷 The business is pending physical examination.

Hill, 43 in March, has one of baseball’s most original histories. He had some success as a starter early in his career, which started with the Cubs. In 2007, he made 32 starts for the Cubbies, pitching 195 innings with a 3.92 ERA. However, injuries and poor performance led to a long period of struggle for Hill. He did not reach 60 MLB innings pitched in any season from 2008 to 2015, often struggling with his health or command or both as he bounced around for Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, the Angels and the Yankees.

Hill’s struggles were so pronounced that he ended up pitching for the Long Island Ducks for a spell in 2015, but he showed enough promise to earn a minor league contract from the Red Sox. He was promoted at the end of the season and made four starts with a 1.55 ERA. That was enough for the A’s to take a gamble on him, as they signed him for $6 million for his 36-year-old season. Hill cemented his unlikely late career comeback by posting a 2.12 ERA in 2016 in 20 starts and has continued to post solid results in every year since.

Hill is not a workhorse, as he did not reach 160 innings in any season outside of the 2007 campaign with the Cubs. What he has managed to provide in recent years is generally strong entries on a fee basis. From 2016 to the present he has made at least 20 appearances and recorded at least 110 frames in five of the six full seasons, with 2019 being the only exception when a forearm strain limited him to just 13 appearances and 58 2/3 innings. Back then, he had a 3.39 ERA, 25.8% strikeout rate, 8% walk rate, and 39.7% ground ball rate, spending time with the A’s, Dodgers, Twins, Rays, Mets and Red Sox.

The southpaw hasn’t been as successful over the past three seasons, especially in the strikeout department. While he punched 29% of batters faced from 2016 to 2019, it’s only been 21.6% since then. This also boosted his ERA, as he reached 4.27 with Boston in 2022, with a 20.7% strikeout rate, 7% walk rate and 40.2% ground ball rate this year. . However, he still found ways to be effective, as his hard hitting rate was at the 79th percentile this year and his average exit speed at the 56th.

Going into his 43-year campaign, Hill has still attracted a lot of interest on the open market this offseason. The Orioles, Angels, Rangers and Red Sox have all shown some interest, but it’s the Pirates who have secured his services for 2023. Hill is the second rotation addition the club has made this offseason, as they also added Vince Velasquez a few weeks ago. These two should fit next to each other. Mitch Keller🇧🇷 JT Brubaker and roansy contreras in club rotation, hitting Bryse Wilson to a long relief role in the bullpen. the club will have Johan Oviedo🇧🇷 Luis Ortiz and some other arms available as depth for inevitable injuries or future trades. For the clubs that lost Hill, the free agent starting pitcher market is now led by players like Nathan Eovaldi🇧🇷 Corey Kluber🇧🇷 michael wacha and Johnny Cueto🇧🇷

The Bucs have been firmly in rebuilding mode for a few years now and are coming off a 100-loss season, but have been pretty active in adding seniors for 2023. Ji-Man Choi in a trade with the Rays and also signed Carlos Santana🇧🇷 Austin Hedges and Jarlin Garcia, as well as adding Velasquez and Hill to the rotation. All of these players are lined up to be short-term additions, as they are each slated for free agency after 2023. While these players could make the club more competent for the upcoming season, they are also lined up to be commercial candidates over the coming season. half a year, unless the pirates suddenly take a big leap forward in their rebuilding process. Regardless, they should all be able to impart some wisdom to younger players from their years in the game, with Hill best qualified to contribute in that capacity. the retirement of Albert Pujols leaves him as the oldest player in the majors.

Financially, this signing raised Pittsburgh’s payroll to $89 million, according to Roster Resource’s calculations. In fact, that brings the club within pitching distance of its franchise record, which was just under $100 million in 2016, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts figures. There are no real long-term investments to speak of, as Ke’Bryan Hayes is still the only player under contract for 2024, but this winter’s crop of one-year contracts represent the most aggressive signings for the team in a few years.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.