I know this happened a few days ago, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it as we’ve spoken about Rich Hill numerous times in the past. Finally, he has been released from the shackles of the Chicago Cubs and will get a chance to earn a rotation spot for the Baltimore Orioles.
How hard will it be for him to at least get the chance? Considering that three spots are wide open (after Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara), there’s a very good chance. Just who is he competing with? Here are some of the options the Orioles have available to them:
- Mark Hendrickson (and his 5.45 ERA in ‘08)
- Matt Albers (trying to return from a torn labrum)
- Chris Waters (and his 5.01 ERA in ’08)
- Radhames Liz (and his 6.72 ERA in ‘08)
- Danys Baez (yes, the same Danys Baez who once saved 41 games for Tampa Bay)
- David Pauley (and his 9.53 career ERA)
- Brad Hennessey (and his 7.81 ERA in ’08)
- Chris Tillman (OK, he’s got a lot of potential after his 3.18 ERA at Double A last season)
- Troy Patton (who missed all of 2008 after shoulder surgery)
- Brian Bass (and his 4.84 ERA in ’08)
The odds would appear to be in his favor, but does anyone care? I know he is just a year removed from going 11-8 with a 3.92 ERA and 183 K’s. He was the talk of the town heading into last season with fantasy owners hoping to snag him. He was supposed to emerge as a solid option, a #2 or 3 at worst. Then his control abandoned him and he was banished to the minors by Lou Pinella and Co.
His BB/9 at the major league level was 8.24 and was even worse at Triple A, with a 9.69. While it’s possible for him to suddenly find things once again, he will not be pitching in the toughest division in baseball. He will regularly be pitching against the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays, something that does not help to endear him to me.
He’s a player that I would draft for my bench, maybe in the last round to stash away and see what happens. If he gets off to a good start, then I will certainly reap the benefits. If he bombs, then it’s off to the waiver wire and he doesn’t hurt me at all. Cliff Lee’s amazing resurgence gives cause for hope, which is why I would consider him as a low-risk, high-reward gamble, but maybe I’m a glutton for punishment.
What about you? Are you willing to gamble on Hill in the last few rounds of your draft (strictly as a reserve) or would you rather watch someone else take the risk?