The New York Mets are reportedly one of three teams that have shown “significant interest” in free-agent left-handed starting pitcher, Rich Hill, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford.
The Tampa Bay Rays and Milwaukee Brewers are also believed to be in on the 40-year-old.
After minimal success during the first half of his career, Hill was out of Major League Baseball, playing for the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League before catching on with the Boston Red Sox in 2015.
Since his age 35 season that year, the southpaw has been an underrated effective starting pitcher, when he can stay healthy going 43-22 with a 2.92 ERA, 1.063 WHIP, and a 10.9 strikeouts-per-nine-innings average with the Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Minnesota Twins.
The problem is that in the previous four full MLB seasons (2016-2019), he didn’t make more than 25 starts in any single campaign.
In the shortened 2020 with Minnesota — his age 40 season — Hill went 2-2 with a 3.03 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 38.2 innings of work. Hill turns 41 on March 11, less than three weeks before Opening Day.
He would provide more depth to a Mets rotation that is looking to find reliable left-handed options near the bottom of the rotation behind David Peterson, who impressed in his rookie season last year.
They dealt Steven Matz to the Toronto Blue Jays last week for added flexibility under MLB’s competitive balance tax, leaving the newly-acquired Joey Lucchesi — picked up from the San Diego Padres — as the only other starting lefty option behind Peterson.
For now, the Mets’ rotation is in much better shape compared to last season, but there are still uncertainties near the bottom until Noah Syndergaard returns from his Tommy John recovery. They brought back Marcus Stroman early in the offseason before acquiring Carlos Carrasco to support Jacob deGrom. Peterson is expected to start the season in a No. 4 or 5 role with Lucchesi also in the mix.
The Mets remain interested in defending NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer, which would mean Peterson, Lucchesi, and potentially Hill would be competing for just one spot in the rotation.