If the Oakland A’s want to take a chance on a potential lottery ticket for the rotation, a reunion with Rich Hill could be worth pursuing.
The Oakland A’s have a spot to fill in the back of their rotation as free agency is starting to kick off. With their financial limitations and plethora of openings, it is entirely possible that they look to fill this void from within, especially as they have several prospects that are seemingly ready for the majors. However, as the 2020 minor league season was canceled, the A’s may want to get those prospects a bit more time to develop before bringing them up.
If the A’s do not feel that their prospects are ready, then they may look to find some low cost alternatives in free agency. One pitcher that could work would be Rich Hill, who had spent time with the A’s back in 2016 before being traded to the Dodgers.
The 40 year old had a reasonably solid year with the Twins in 2020. Over the course of his 38.2 innings, he posted a 3.03 ERA and a 1.164 WHiP, striking out 31 batters with 17 walks. While his decreased strikeout rate, and increased walk rate, are causes for concern, Hill continued to keep the ball in the yard, allowing just three homers.
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There are obvious concerns when it comes to potentially signing Hill. He will spend time on the Injured List, as his continual blister problems will appear at some point. His devastating curve was not as sharp in 2020, and his command was not as strong. And, given his age, Hill could easily implode in the coming year.
But the potential is still there. Many players struggled due to the shortened season, and Hill did have a late start due to injuries. He is hoping to play in 2021, and stated that his preference is to head to a World Series contender. As Hill has only reached the postseason five times, and has never been to a World Series, that is a greater factor than any price tag.
The A’s, despite their numerous holes, still fit that description. The heart of the lineup is intact, and they still possess a formidable rotation. Signing someone such as Hill, who could be a relative bargain, would also allow the A’s to spend more in other areas, potentially allowing them to bring back the middle of their infield.
Rich Hill wants to pitch for a contender and reach the World Series. The Oakland A’s need a starter. A reunion could make sense if the price is right.