The 2020 offseason quickly went from painful to unbearable for many Dodgers fans on New Year’s Eve when Rich Hill signed with the Minnesota Twins.
Hill, who is entering his age 40 season, will remain a fan favorite amongst Dodgers fans, especially after he got arrested while standing up for his wife at the Patriots game last weekend. Playfully nicknamed ‘D. Mountain’ and one of the best postseason performers for the club, Hill departs for Minnesota after putting up his shortest regular season since the Dodgers signed him to a three-year deal back in the 2017 offseason.
Hill’s new contract with the Twins is only for $3 million guaranteed, but there are reportedly $9.5 million in incentives that kick in depending on how many starts and innings pitched Hill reaches in 2020 according to MLBTR.
Dan Hayes of The Athletic was the first to break the news, much to the dismay of Dodgers’ Twitter.
Last season, Hill came up just short of 60 innings pitched for the Dodgers, but he had a 2.45 ERA and struck out 72 hitters while walking only 18. The veteran lefty still has what it takes to pitch meaningful innings for a playoff team, and Minnesota seems to have believed in him and needed him more than LA did.
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Even without Hill, the Dodgers have plenty of depth in the rotation, with Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler providing 25-30 starts apiece. Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling should be the third and fourth starters now that both Hill and Ryu are out of the picture, with one (or all three) of the second-year starters filling in the rest as needed.
Though the rotation seems full even with Hill moving on to the AL Central, he’s still not slated to return until June or July according to MLBTR, which means that signing Hill would act as adding a solid starter at the trade deadline for little money and virtually no prospect cost.
The $3 million guaranteed, and even the $12.5 million Hill would make if he hit on all of his incentive bonuses, would certainly make sense for the Dodgers to take on, which should lead Dodgers fans to wonder how hard LA pushed for one of their favorites from the past three seasons.
Ultimately though, Hill wanted to pitch for a contender, and the Twins won the AL Central last season. He won’t be the ace, but he’ll certainly be one of the best lefties on the staff and one of few pitchers with true postseason experience, making him a valuable signing.