The Los Angeles Dodgers solidified one portion of their shaky starting rotation today, announcing that the team signed free agent left-handed pitcher Rich Hill to a three-year contract. Other outlets have reported that the deal is worth $48 million.
Hill projects as the team's number 2 starter behind ace Clayton Kershaw. Kenta Maeda also figures to be another starter, perhaps the third arm in the rotation. After that, uncertainty abounds, as Los Angeles has a collection of arms coming back from injury next season.
Hill, 36, was originally acquired by the Dodgers in a five-player trade with the Athletics on Aug. 1 and went 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA in six starts with Los Angeles.
In three postseason starts for the Dodgers, he posted a 1-1 record with a 3.46 ERA (5 ER/13.0 IP), including firing 6.0 scoreless innings to pick up the win in NLCS Game 3 vs. the Cubs.
Although Hill may be relatively old, he relies on his tremendous curveball to get hitters out, so there is little worry over whether his velocity might decrease over the life of his contract.
The real concern with Hill is his health, as he missed multiple starts last year due to chronic blisters on his pitching hand.
Overall, Hill went 12-5 with a 2.12 ERA in 20 starts with Los Angeles and Oakland last year, ranking among the Majors’ best (min. 100.0 IP) in ERA (2nd, behind only Clayton Kershaw, 1.69), opponents’ batting average (.195, 3rd) and WHIP (1.00, 5th) despite being limited by a blister and groin injury.
Hill has a 38-28 career record with a 4.10 ERA in 221 games (94 starts) in 12 MLB seasons with the Cubs (2005-08), Orioles (2009), Red Sox (2010-12, ‘15), Indians (2012), Angels (2014), Yankees (2014), Athletics (2016) and Dodgers (2016) after being selected in the fourth round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Michigan.
The Dodgers have 40 players on their 40-man roster.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services