Astros: Entering the Rich Hill Sweepstakes
By Cody Poage
Anywhere you look this offseason, the Astros seem to be in on every free agent.
Of course, the Astros can’t realistically be in on every free agent. But they are in on plenty like Rich Hill. You know, the reinvented southpaw.
If you are like me, you remember Hill from his time with the Chicago Cubs years ago. The Astros were wearing brick red then.
Now Houston could be interested in the services of perhaps one of the best comeback stories in recent baseball history. In the blue-and-orange. Win-win, right?
Remember, it hasn’t been two years since Hill was pitching for the Independent League. He then pitched his way back onto the Boston Red Sox. Signed a deal with Oakland last offseason. Then ended up helping the Dodgers advance to the NLCS.
And now he is arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball in the past calendar year.
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Sure, everyone will point to his age. Anytime you sign a 36-year old pitcher to a three-to-four year contract there is certainly risk involved. But it shouldn’t matter in this case. To get the best of both worlds, a top starting pitcher and keeping the farm, this may be the best alternative.
Look at his numbers. Or better yet, I’ll show you.
2015-16 statistics: 24 GS, 139.1 innings pitched, 14-6, 2.00 ERA, 202 ERA+, 2.37 FIP
Imagine a pitcher like Hill with Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, and Collin McHugh. That’s solid. Not the sexiest rotation mind you, but dang you could do much worse.
So why should the Astros pursue Hill?
Well, signing Hill wouldn’t cost Houston any prospects or draft picks. And with Chris Sale or Chris Archer being held out for a king’s ransom, then pursuing Hill should be a viable alternative. Plus, he would add another battle-tested left handed to this rotation.
But there is the issue of a high-dollar contract when compared to his age. At 36-years old, there could be issues with health or sudden drop off. There is definitely risk.
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At the end of the day though, the Astros may be better off signing Hill and keeping the prospects. Only time will tell if the team will choose to go that route.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**