It appears Rich Hill’s issues with a blister on his right middle finger are not over. The A’s ace pitcher was removed after Hill looked at his hand after releasing his fifth pitch of his outing. Hill was originally slated to start on Friday and the blister pushed his start out to Sunday.
Many scouts were on hand to watch Hill on Sunday, reports the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, with the impending free agent expected to garner a high price by the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline. However, Oakland’s demands were reportedly too high for the Boston Red Sox, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, with GM Dave Dombrowski acquiring Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres, instead.
Oakland A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane has told Peter Gammons that it’s not out of the question that the club could hold onto Hill and make him a qualifying offer if they can’t get a good enough deal:
Billy Beane:"Rich Hill is the best pitcher in the league right now. Period. We would have no problem making him a qualifying offer."— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) July 16, 2016
If Hill misses much more time and a sufficient offer doesn’t materialize, a one-year, $17 million contract might not be the worst result, though the A’s might have had a play at contending for a short-term contract with Hill at free agency anyway.
Andrew Triggs took over for Hill with a 3-2 count, but was himself injured on a line drive to his knee during the first inning. Triggs was able to finish the inning, but Sean Manaea entered the game to start the second and was allowed as much time as he wanted to warm up, as if replacing an injured pitcher. The A’s will need a new starting pitcher by Tuesday’s game or Rich Hill will have to pitch.