On Tuesday morning, hours before the trade deadline, the San Diego Padres acquired left-handed starting pitcher Rich Hill along with first baseman/designated hitter Ji-Man Choi from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Padres were searching for another left-handed arm to put in the rotation, and Hill is exactly that. Though he is Major League Baseball’s oldest player at 43 years old, he still has something in the tank and has a track record of being a great clubhouse guy.
In 119 innings for Pittsburgh in 2023, Hill has started 22 games and has a 7-10 record with a 4.79 ERA. He has also struck out 104 in those 119 innings with a WHIP of 1.479. While these numbers certainly don’t jump out as numbers of a guy that would seem overly desirable at the trade deadline, Hill’s value goes beyond his numbers.
Hill will be joining his 13th organization with the Padres, and with that comes 19 years of Major League experience. Hill also has postseason experience, as he has pitched 57 innings in the playoffs with a 3.06 postseason ERA. Hill has also been to two World Series, but he lost both times while a member of the Dodgers.
Hill brings an arsenal of pitches, though he mostly sticks with a curveball, a fastball, a slider, and a cutter. Hill uses his heavy-breaking curveball most often, with a 36.5% usage rate in 2022 with the Red Sox. He also can display different arm angles with each pitch which has allowed him to stay in an MLB rotation through age 43.
While he does not throw hard (fastball usually around mid-high 80s) or even have spectacular numbers so far in 2023, Rich Hill could be a great addition to the San Diego Padres while they are looking for more consistency in the last 55 games of the season. He will certainly give the clubhouse a savvy veteran presence and could rub off on and teach some of the pitchers that will be working next to him.
On top of that, Rich Hill is a stand-up guy that wears his emotions on his sleeve. He will tell it like it is, which is something that I think the Padres could use at a time where they find themselves looking in the mirror due to inconsistent performances. Welcome to San Diego, Rich Hill.
Kevin is a San Diego Native covering the San Diego Padres and their affiliates