In a much-needed piece of news for the pitching-strapped Los Angeles Dodgers, the team is reportedly nearing an agreement to retain southpaw Rich Hill.
ESPN’s Peter Gammons was the first to report that Hill was likely headed back to the Dodgers on Saturday, tweeting out that another team pursuing Hill believed that he already had a three-year deal in place of “$40 million or more.” Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe followed up Gammons’ tweet, stating that he’s hearing the deal would be in the range of “$46-48 million,” though he also noted that the possibility of an East Coast squad signing him still existed.
Both of those stories were followed up by yesterday’s tweet from Bill Plunkett of the Orange County-Register, reporting that both parties were “closing in” on a deal, although it was not official at the time. Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times later tweeted that no deal was to be announced last night.
The 36-year-old journeyman broke out this past season in a surprising way, compiling a 12-5 record with a 2.12 ERA. Beginning the year with the Oakland Athletics, the southpaw really seemed to embrace his role as the team’s de-facto ace amid Sonny Gray‘s struggles, thriving to the tune of a 9-3 record with a 2.25 ERA in 14 starts. He, along with A’s teammate Josh Reddick (now a member of the Houston Astros), were dealt to the Dodgers at the trade deadline. Hill finished strong with a 3-2 record and a 1.83 ERA in his final six starts. He dealt with a few injuries last season, though, limiting him to only 110.1 innings of work. That said, he certainly made the most of it.
Los Angeles’ rotation seemed to struggle last season, following the offseason departure of second ace Zack Greinke. This left the team with a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Kenta Maeda. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, McCarthy, Anderson, and Ryu combined to make 13 starts all season. All told, the Dodgers saw 15 pitchers make at least one start at some point during the 2016 season, including Hill.
With Kershaw suffering a near season-ending injury, the Dodgers scrambled to find a way [or ways] to make up for the missed production. While they struck out on a number of options, they were able to land Hill. Despite the team reportedly being able to retain Hill’s services, the “Hot Stove” seems to suggest that Hollywood could soon see another star, as the Dodgers have been linked to a number of pitchers already this winter, including Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays’ ace Chris Archer.