The Boston Red Sox have avoided the top part of the free agent pitching market thus far, but they have made a couple of moves in the lower tiers, searching for veteran upside with the signings of both Michael Wacha as well as James Paxton. Well, before the lockout that is expected to start at 11:59 PM ET on Wednesday, they have squeezed in another signing of that ilk. According to a report from the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Boston has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Milton, MA native Rich Hill. The deal is pending a physical, which presumably would have to be done before the aforementioned 11:59 deadline. We will update this post when reported contract terms come out.
Amazingly, per Speier, this is the seventh time Hill has signed with the Red Sox as a free agent.
Hill is no stranger to the Red Sox organization, having first joined the club back in 2010. He had another stint with the team in 2015 when he revitalized his career as a starter. Now entering his age-42 season, he is still throwing productive innings in the majors. This past season he made 31 starts plus a relief appearance totaling 158 2⁄3 innings, pitching for the Rays and Mets. In that stretch the southpaw pitched to a 3.86 ERA with 150 strikeouts and 55 walks and a 4.34 FIP. He no longer throws with much velocity, with his fastball sitting in the high 80s this past season with his curveball serving as his primary secondary. He threw those two pitches a combined 91 percent of the time in 2021.
Durability has been a concern for the veteran for much of his career, and this is only the second time in his long career he’s made 30 starts, with the other being way back in 2007. Hill will presumably be a part of the Opening Day rotation assuming he’s healthy, along with Wacha, Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, and Nick Pivetta.
Update (11:20 PM ET)
Ken Rosenthal is reporting Hill is set to earn $5 million next season, with incentives potentially bumping that up another $3 million.