And just like that, the best free agent starter is off the board.
According to various reports on Twitter, later confirmed by the Dodgers themselves, the Los Angeles Dodgers have re-signed free agent starter Rich Hill. He gets a three-year, $48 million deal. Not bad for a guy whose career was thought over just a couple years ago.
It’s a healthy investment from the Dodgers, but Hill reinvented himself in the biggest possible way with the Red Sox, A’s and Dodgers over the past season and a half, and this seems a like a worthwhile risk.
The Cubs were never really connected to Hill in any meaningful way, but a starter off the board is a starter off the board, and Hill was a relatively good one in a supremely weak market.
And in case you forgot just how good Hill was this past season, consider that in just 110.1 innings, he was worth 3.8 fWAR, thanks to a 2.12 ERA and peripherals (2.39 FIP, 29.6% strikeout rate, 7.5% walk rate) that were quite strong as well.
… but I’ll still let you be amazed and moderately surprised by the price he was able to command. Despite his excellence in 2016, Hill is almost 37 years old and has just 292.1 innings pitched in the Majors since 2008 (!).
And that’s not even the half of it:
Rich Hill is older than Carlos Zambrano, Josh Beckett or Dan Haren. He's older and has fewer major league strikeouts than Mark Prior.
— Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot) December 5, 2016
Clearly, the Dodgers (and the rest of the market) felt like Hill was a good enough bet to provide enough (but not a full slab of) hopefully dominant innings throughout the course of the the next few seasons:
#Dodgers believe Hill can give them at least 120 high-quality innings per season, and that their depth can make up for any lack of quantity.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 5, 2016
The Dodgers rotation, as of today, will likely feature Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Julio Urias, Kenta Maeda and then some combination of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alex Wood, Brandon McCarthy, and Scott Kazmir. Assuming they don’t also land Chris Sale, of course.