Rich Hill signs with Twins; what are the Dodgers doing?

This offseason has been wholly disappointing for the Dodgers, and, well it continues.

I’m happy for Rich Hill. He’s going to earn $3 million in base salary with incentives that have a chance to make him more than $10 million. Seeing as he won’t be ready until midseason or so, that’s a pretty nice deal for the almost-40-year-old southpaw.

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But as a fan … well, this really sucks. Normally, I wouldn’t be bummed about losing a pitcher about to turn 40, but this is different. Hill is a unique cat and has been an asset to the Dodgers for the last 3 1/2 seasons. That contract he received from the Twins is something the Dodgers could have easily matched. Hill had expressed interest in returning to the Dodgers, and the interest seemed mutual. In the end, obviously, things didn’t work out. Maybe the Dodgers are really going to lean on the likes of Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, Ross Stripling and Julio Urias, which sounds more like the plan for an up-and-coming team rather than a perennial World Series contender. But I digress.

Ever since the Dodgers acquired Hill at the trade deadline in 2016, he has been really, really good for them. In 69 (nice) games (68 starts), Hill posted a 3.16 ERA, 3.71 FIP, a 21.4 K-BB% and a 7.1 WAR. In 50 postseason innings, Hill recorded a 2.70 ERA, a 15.3 K-BB% and a 0.53 WPA. His two most memorable postseason appearances for the Dodgers were Game 2 of the 2016 NLCS when he threw six shutout innings against the eventual World Series champion Cubs and Game 4 of the 2018 World Series against the eventual World Series champion Red Sox that saw him post this line: 6 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K. He was, infamously, removed from the game by Dave Roberts in a bit of confusion that, ultimately, played a huge role in the Dodgers’ loss that night.

When the Dodgers re-signed him to a 3-year, $48 million deal after the ’15 season, some questioned it. He came up a bit short of that, using FanGraphs’ $/WAR metric ($39 million), but that’s not too bad considering he logged just 327 innings over the last three seasons. If he had gotten to 130 innings this season (135 2/3 and 132 2/3 the previous two seasons), he’d have been a 2-win pitcher.

Thanks for a really good 3 1/2 years, Dick Mountain. You will be missed.

First Hyun-Jin Ryu, now Hill. The Dodgers got the band back together after 2016, but they aren’t doing the same after 2019. The difference is, they haven’t done anything to add to the band. Yet. It’s coming … right?

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.