The Oakland Athletics have signed 35-year-old left-handed pitcher Rich Hill for one year and $6 million, pending a physical, according to multiple reports. Robert Murray of Baseball Essential was the first to report the signing on Twitter while Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported the terms of the deal. Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reported that the A's were a favorite for his signature earlier Tuesday evening.
Hill had a larger offer on the table, but the A's apparently made assurances as to Hill's place in the starting rotation:
Rich Hill had a big market, and one team said it had a bigger-money offer on table than Oakland's. Hill liked A's guaranteed rotation spot.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 18, 2015
Hill made four impressive starts for the Boston Red Sox, his first starts since the 2009 season, and had a 1.55 ERA. Hill had an odd journey on his way to a major league deal for 2016. He was released from his minor league deal with the Washington Nationals in June and made two starts for the independent Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League before signing with the Boston Red Sox.
Hill went on to make four starts totaling 29 innings and striking out a whopping 36 batters. He only threw 94 innings at any level last year, and that was the most since throwing 103 innings in 2010 between the Red Sox and Cardinals organizations. While Hill reportedly signed because of Oakland's assurances he would be in the rotation, the bullpen could be a possibility as part of Oakland's needed revamp of the relief corp if Hill does not ultimately stick.
What seems to have clubs excited about Hill is his fascinating curveball which he mixes with a fastball, slider, change combination enough times to keep batters on their toes:
Hill has been through a Tommy John surgery in 2011, and his return in 2012 was hampered by a further injury that limited him to 34⅔ innings that year. He is an 11-year MLB veteran who has played for the Cubs, Orioles, Red Sox, Indians, Angels, and Yankees.
The A's already have 40 players on their 40-man roster, so a corresponding move will need to made once the deal becomes official.