UPDATE: Dodgers Reportedly Set to Re-Sign Rich Hill
The Dodgers are finalizing a multi-year contract to bring Rich Hill back to Los Angeles, according to ESPN's Jim Bowden:
Rich Hill and the Dodgers have not yet completed their agreement according to sources involved in the negotiations, but the deal "will get done" and they expect an announcement sometime on Sunday.
Veteran baseball insider Peter Gammons reported earlier Saturday that at least one other team who was pursuing Hill believed that the deal may already be done. Several other outlets including the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, and MLB.com have reported that a deal is close to being finished, with the Globe's Nick Cafardo saying that the deal is believed to be around $46-48 million.
Hill is set to join some combination of Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda, and Brandon McCarthy in the 2017 Dodgers rotation. Athough the Dodgers will likely retain much of that depth in order to ease the workload of the injury-prone Hill, Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times speculated that the Dodgers could look to trade one of their other expensive starting pitchers such as Kazmir or McCarthy.
Original story follows:
The Los Angeles Dodgers made their biggest trade deadline splash of the Andrew Friedman era when they acquired outfielder Josh Reddick and starting pitcher Rich Hill from the Oakland Athletics on August 1st. Both players became key additions to the team as it continued its second half surge to capture its fourth consecuitive National League West division title and eventually reach the NLCS. They also both hit free agency after the season, joining several other key members of the 2016 Dodgers such as Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen.
Reddick has already moved on, having signed a four-year deal with the Houston Astros last week. Hill is seen as one of the best starting pitchers in a very weak market this winter, and is expecting to net a significant pay raise from his one-year, $6 million contract he signed with Oakland before last season. And unlike the case with Reddick, the Dodgers are reportedly interested in bringing him back. According to ESPN reporter Jim Bowden, the Dodgers are one of four teams "In full pursuit" of the lefty:
Rich Hill has four teams that are all "in" full pursuit of him and they are the Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers and Astros. It is believed that the Red Sox and Orioles are the two other teams that are in the mix to a lesser degree.
It shouldn't be a huge surprise that the Dodgers are looking into re-signing Hill. Although he was on the disabled list with a blister issue at the time the Dodgers acquired him, he was dominant when healthy during his stint with the team. Over 34 regular season innings after the trade, Hill recorded an excellent 1.83 ERA and 2.07 FIP in Dodger blue, providing a much-needed front-end starter to fill in for and later join Clayton Kershaw once the latter returned from his back injury. After two rough starts in the NLDS against Washington, Hill threw six innings of shutout ball against the eventual World Series Champion Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the NLCS to give the Dodgers the victory.
Hill is already 36, having just completed one of the great comeback stories in recent MLB history. He went from being a washed-up independent league pitcher in 2015 to a one of the best in baseball in 2016, thanks in no small part to heavy reliance on a curveball that closely resembles Kershaw's. MLB Trade Rumors predicted that Hill would net a three-year, $50 million contract this season, meaning that the Dodgers would have to pay up to keep him in the fold.