Yankees Rumors: NYY in “Full Pursuit” of Rich Hill
The New York Yankees are rumored to be one of the four MLB clubs who has shown the strongest interest in signing talented but injury-prone free agent starting pitcher Rich Hill.
Jim Bowden of ESPN reports that the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, and Houston Astros have emerged as the four most ardent suitors for the top available starting pitcher on the free-agent market this winter, Rich Hill. He notes that the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles are also “in the mix to a lesser degree.”
While Hill certainly has his flaws as a player, he represents the only opportunity for teams looking to add a front-of-the-rotation starter without surrendering young talent.
The 36-year-old lefty was one of the most fun stories of 2016, as he managed to sustain the promise of his four dominant starts in September 2015 over the course of a full season (more or less), pitching to a 2.12 ERA and 2.39 FIP in 110.1 IP (20 GS) while striking out 29.4% (10.52 K/9) of opposing batters and walking just 7.5% (2.69 BB/9).
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His age and injury history have a lot of Yankees fans nervous, but the upside for the 2017 club is a lot of fun to think about. The one-two punch of Masahiro Tanaka and Hill would have a strong case for being the best of any American League contender next year.
If either Michael Pineda or Luis Severino take a step forward and establish themselves as a solid number three, New York would suddenly have a very credible starting five to go along with their emerging offensive core.
That said, I would be very surprised if these new, financially responsible Yankees were willing to commit multiple years and $50-plus million to a complete Wild Card like Hill. They’ve made a concerted effort to get younger and avoid paying big money for the decline years of over-the-hill players, and this would clearly fly in the face of that.
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Even so, Hill is such an unusual talent and there are so few options available that Cashman may just have to jump on him and cross his fingers.