Re-signing Rich Hill suddenly makes a little more sense

New York Mets v Milwaukee Brewers
New York Mets v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

The thought arrived like butterflies. What if the New York Mets do re-sign Rich Hill?

It was preposterous about a month ago. It didn’t make much sense at all. Why would they need to? How could they find any room for him on the roster?

Then the unthinkable happened: Noah Syndergaard turned down the qualifying offer and bolted for the Los Angeles Angels. This left a big hole in the Mets rotation: one that Hill might be able to temporarily fill for a season.

Rich Hill suddenly makes some sense for the Mets

Fans were treated to 63.1 innings of Hill’s work in 2021 with a 3.84 ERA performance. There was nothing particularly noteworthy about it. Hill tossed quality innings and saw himself get shafted from more than a couple of potential victories.

He couldn’t have joined the Mets at a worse time—as if there was any choice in the matter. Brought in to help the Mets try to overcome an injury to ace Jacob deGrom, Hill’s arrival came right before the downward spiral. It wasn’t his fault. The team just happened to begin their collapse shortly after the trade deadline that put Hill in orange and blue.

With Hill, the concern is definitely his age. He turns 42 in March. His track record prior to 2021 also hinted that a full season was out of the question. Since his resurgence with the Boston Red Sox in 2015, Hill has only gone beyond 25 starts once. It happened to come this past year when he made 31 plus a pseudo-start with the Mets in the resumption of a game.

As a fallback guy with the potential to get the Mets through a part of the season, I don’t hate the idea of Hill coming back. The last contract he signed was a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. Previous to that, it was a single season contract for $3 million.

This is probably the price range he’ll remain in for the coming year if he doesn’t hang up his cleats. Father time is undefeated.

I have my doubts that we see the Mets add more than one top starter this winter. With qualifying offers attached to so many and others feeling out of reach, Hill is a guy who has at least been here already. How he felt about his weeks with the team is a different story. I can’t imagine he’s thrilled about getting traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Mets midseason—unless of course he enjoys having his Octobers free to do as he pleases.

Hill paired with one of the top starters this winter isn’t such a bad plan. It’s flawed yet not entirely so if everyone does their job and Mets can squeeze out another 20 starts from the ageless one, Dick Mountain.

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