Free-agent starting pitcher Rich Hill is in agreement on a deal with the Boston Red Sox, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Entering the offseason, the Red Sox sought to replenish their pitching depth. They lost left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who signed a five-year, $77.5 million deal with the Detroit Tigers. But they signed right-hander Michael Wacha to a one-year, $7 million deal and left-hander James Paxton to a one-year, $10 million deal with a two-year club option. Now, they add Hill, who is entering his 18th season in baseball, and has made it clear that he wanted to return to Boston.
Hill, a Canton native, recently suggested to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe that he has been in touch with the Red Sox, adding: “There is an interest, without a doubt. There’s a need on the other end. [But] the need for starting pitching is very apparent throughout the league – not just in Boston. It’s also many other clubs that need it.”
Red Sox: Rich Hill adds veteran rotation depth
Hill, 41, drew interest from multiple teams – both American and National League – and his market heated up in recent days. But with Hill wanting to return to Boston, and the Red Sox in need of another starting pitcher, a reunion was agreed upon hours before baseball is expected to go into its first lockout in 27 years.
The fit makes perfect sense. Hill, who finished last season throwing 158.2 innings in 31 starts with the Rays and Mets, provides short-term stability on an inexpensive contract. He posted a 3.86 ERA and a 150/55 strikeout-to-walk ratio while holding opposing hitters to a .718 OPS. His hard-hit rate was in the 79th percentile while his curveball and fastball spin rates were in the 81st and 71st percentile in 2021, according to Baseball Savant.
With Wacha, Paxton and now Hill on board, the Red Sox will continue to look for another middle infielder and perhaps a relief pitcher. They have stayed in touch with free-agent outfielder Kyle Schwarber. But throughout the offseason, teams and agents in contact with Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox front office have not gotten the sense that they are prioritizing any major additions.