Astros Trade Rumors: Rich Hill
In the latest MLB trade rumors, the Houston Astros have been linked to Oakland Athletics left-handed pitcher Rich Hill. The only problem with Hill is the fact that he has not made a start since he left his July 17th start with blisters problems. Hill was supposed to start Sunday’s game but was scratched again, meaning that he will not start before Monday’s trade deadline. Whoever trades for Hill will not know what they are really trading for at that point.
It is far too easy for people to see Hill being traded to the Astros following last year’s Scott Kazmir trade with the Athletics. While that trade did not work out for the Astros, trading for Hill could be a cheap acquisition. The only problem is that scouts have not seen him pitch in nearly a month, he only threw five pitches in his one start this month.
He would be a high risk and high reward type of guy, which is not typically Jeff Luhnow’s cup of tea. Especially after the Carlos Gomez trade, where he took a risk on a player who was having a down season but had All-Star potential. Hill has had a great season this year with a 9-3 record and a 2.25 ERA while striking out 90 batters in 71 innings. These numbers sound very Kazmir like before he joined the Astros in 2015.
The whole reason for this post came from Peter Gammons’ Tweet yesterday, where he said that teams after Hill could have to be creative. The A’s have come out and said that they would not give Hill away. If they really want to get something back for the impending free agent, they will need to lower their expectations. Gammons suggested that a conditional trade might be in order, where the return for Hill could depend on how many games he starts.
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While this type of trades rarely happens, the two teams could use the TBA to determine the player or players in return. Gammons suggested a ten game mark for Hill, that the would determine if the A’s get a top prospect or a lower rated prospect. Such a trade could include a list of three players for either situation.
Last year, the Astros traded Jacob Nottingham and Daniel Mengden for Kazmir. It could take trading players like Riley Ferrell and Derek Fisher to get it done. The question Luhnow has been asking, would Hill be an upgrade over Mike Fiers? A healthy Hill could stabilize the rotation and could be a playoff caliber pitcher for the Astros. He can throw 90 mph and throws a 74 mph curveball, along with a slider and changeup.
Trading for Hill would be a gamble for any team, but the Astros may have to take the risk. The Astros pitching outside of Lance McCullers and Dallas Keuchel have struggled against good hitting offenses. It would be a surprise if Hill is wearing an Astros uniform in 2016, but maybe they can pursue him in the offseason. Buster Olney said the A’s could keep him and offer him a qualifying offer in the offseason.
Update, he was put on the DL earlier today.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs***