Yesterday news got out that free agent pitcher Rich Hill had undergone an elbow operation in October that would sideline him until mid-season in 2020 at best. Shortly before that, one MLB pundit called the former Dodgers lefty one of the more underrated free agents on the market this off-season.
It seems he may have been right.
Now, MLB writer JP Hoornstra is reporting that Hill has drawn interest from teams already this winter.
LRT: Despite his age (39) and the relatively experimental nature of his surgery, Hill said he's already drawn interest from 10 teams at the GM meetings.
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) November 25, 2019
There’s no word as to whether one of those teams is the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, both sides have expressed interest in a reunion. Hill said as much at the end of the season, and President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman had this to say.
“Rich, obviously, has played a very central role in our past success. We have a ton of respect for him on and off the field. Naturally, I think, conversations will take place with the guys that have been a big part of what we’ve done.”
While Hill has been linked to Boston by one writer — as Hoornstra notes — his age and injury history will undoubtedly make it harder for the veteran to pick up a job before the season starts.
But that could help in a potential return to LA for D. Mountain.
As a season unfolds, a pitching staff gains its identity. Moreover, a firmer grasp on club needs come to light. If Hill is expected to be healthy by mid-season — and he’s still on the market — the Dodgers could look at him as a crafty lefty out of the bullpen for a late-season addition.
Furthermore, Friedman and company could potentially look to lock up Hill earlier (think off-season) and deploy him as a planned late-season addition to help take some innings from young pitchers like Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, or Julio Urias.
Much of this, of course, would be dependant on whether the Dodgers prove to be major players in the Gerrit Cole/Stephen Strasburg sweepstakes.