It wasn’t up to Rich Hill to join the New York Mets this year. He would have gladly stayed with the Tampa Bay Rays and attempted to make a run to the World Series with them—or so I assume.
This isn’t how things turned out. Traded to the Mets a week before the deadline, he’ll need to make his march to the postseason with us in the Big Apple.
Hill’s regular season numbers with the Rays might not stand out for their awesomeness. However, I think the front office had something else in mind when acquiring him other than just finding a capable and healthy arm. Hill has been to the postseason plenty over the years with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Seeing them finally win in 2020 when he was with the Minnesota Twins should provide a little more motivation to finally add a ring to his finger.
Rich Hill will give the Mets a seasoned playoff veteran for the postseason, but only if they can get there
I know now is not the time to start talking about the Mets and the postseason. Fans are ready to jump off of Shea Bridge and burn their free shirt Friday t-shirts in a big fire.
Nevertheless, I happened to be looking at Hill’s postseason career and was able to envision a brighter October.
Hill’s postseason numbers are impressive. Take away the 9.00 ERA from way back in 2007 with the Chicago Cubs and his first series against the Washington Nationals in 2016 and he’s even better than the 3.06 ERA he has amassed overall.
In 17 NLCS innings, Hill is 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 21 strikeouts. In three World Series starts totaling 15 innings, he owns a 1.80 ERA and 19 strikeouts. The bigger the games, the more Hill gets up for them apparently.
There’s only a single clear issue with his playoff career. In 53 innings coming from 12 starts and one relief appearance, Hill has only three decisions. Partly because of some late-game score changes or ties when he heads to the locker room for the night, Hill is not the workhorse type of pitcher you can ever expect to go deep into games.
Getting more than 5 innings from him in any playoff appearance is the best the Mets can hope for. With a strong bullpen to back him up, it might be enough.
What’s not to like about the trade for Hill? The Mets gave up practically nothing and now have a warm body for their rotation. Add in his extensive playoff history, knowledge, and different style of pitching from many others in the rotation aka he’s not just trying to blow it by batters, it would seem the front office managed to add a near-perfect addition to the roster.
But the trouble facing the Mets right now is a team doing everything in their power to NOT make the postseason.
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It’s almost as if the front office saw this coming. Hill was acquired on the cheap and the other trade they made only cost a single prospect. It won’t be a waste if the team misses the postseason and Hill never gets to represent the Amazins in the playoffs. A nice fit for the club, the biggest hurdle is actually putting this postseason bullet to use.