Last season, the Dodgers set the Major League record for the number of players placed on the disabled list in a single season. The team came into the 2017 season hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s injury issues but the injury bug has already bitten them early.
On Friday, the Dodgers placed Rich Hill on the 10-day disabled list with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. The 10-day disabled list is a new addition to the MLB season due to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. This 10-day disabled list means that Hill could potentially only miss one start if LA pushes him back one spot in the rotation.
That being said, the bigger issue is the injury itself. To be honest, I am not the least bit surprised to see Hill on the disabled list. What is surprising is how early on into the season he got hurt.
Last season, Hill was plagued by the same injury both in Oakland and in Los Angeles. Blisters delayed his Dodgers debut and limited him to only 20 starts and 110.1 innings. However, he pitched well in the playoffs and Los Angeles rewarded him by inking him to a three-year $48 million deal.
My initial reaction to the signing was a mix between shocked and happy. Watching the press conference and seeing the raw emotion Hill displayed was very moving. I was very happy that he was able to get paid after all that he went through the past couple of years.
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However, a different part of me was a little uneasy with the deal. Rich Hill is not a young pitcher by any stretch of the imagination, as he is enters the 2017 season at the age of 37 with three more years guaranteed on his contract. In addition, Hill has been labeled “injury prone” throughout his MLB career.
Given that Los Angeles gave up prized pitching prospects Cotton, Holmes, and Montas to acquire Hill and Reddick at the trade deadline for the A’s, I believe it was imperative that the Dodgers retain Hill. Couple that with a starting pitching market that was rather thin, Hill was the team’s best option. To secure his services, the Dodgers had to pay Hill more than he was worth.
Many fans are starting to get uneasy and frustrated with Hill but I believe it is too early panic. The season is still young and Los Angeles really needs Hill in September and October. LA needs him to be a frontline starter in games that matter the most.
In all honesty, I did not expect Hill to last the entire season without a trip to the disabled list. He has never been a 200 inning pitcher at the major league level and it’s unrealistic that he would become one in his age 37 season.
I think that fans need to be patient with Hill and realize that we need him down the stretch and come playoff time if we get so lucky to make it back there again this season. It is way too early to label this deal a bust for the Dodgers. For now, all Los Angeles can do is hope for a speedy recovery.