Texas Rangers rumors: Rich Hill is one of the top free agent starting pitchers on the market, and the Rangers, along with the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Houston Astros are “in full pursuit” of Hill, according to Jim Bowden.
Rich Hill, who turns 37 in March, is an enigma, a lefthander who was a top prospect back in the early Aughts, then had injury issues, then was in the independent leagues in 2015, and then had four great starts with Boston at the end of 2015 that landed him a one year, $6 million deal with the Oakland A’s for 2016. Hill was shipped off to the Dodgers along with Josh Reddick in July, and ended the year with a 2.12 ERA and 2.39 FIP in 20 starts.
The problem with Hill is durability, as he only logged 110.1 IP in those 20 starts, and then had 13 innings pitched in 3 starts in the playoffs for the Dodgers. He’s great at getting guys out, but the inability to work deep into games or to stay on the mound is problematic, and hinders the market for him. Jon Heyman predicted $50 million over three years this offseason for Hill, and that would likely work out to about $1 million per start -- but if he keeps putting up an ERA in the low-2s, that’s a bargain.
Hill is exciting to think about plugging into a rotation — a Hill/Cole Hamels/Yu Darvish trio would make the Rangers scary in a playoff series — but the cost and the likelihood of him spending significant time sidelined make him a high-Beta signing. Personally, I’d be surprised if the Rangers landed him — I think he goes back to the Dodgers — but its awfully tempting to bet on his upside.