While some folks close to the Dodgers do not anticipate any major changes to the roster over the winter, there is still bound to be some minor movement, especially among the team’s free agents.
Seemingly, Ryu has continually expressed his interest to remain a Dodger, and it’s probably safe to assume that Martin would like to stay put as well. However, it was Hill who was the first to come out publicly after the season ended, stating his desire to remain in Los Angeles.
“I’d love to get the opportunity to come back here and wear the Dodger uniform again,” Hill said not long after the 2019 NLDS was decided. “It was really cool. It was a great honor, and hopefully something will play out and I can come back into this locker room and be part of this club. It’s just going to be a lot of fun watching these guys, good young players and a really good pitching staff coming back too.”
As far as logic goes from a performance standpoint, Hill could be the least of the trio likely to come back. However, from a business perspective, there could be a slight possibility of a return, especially if he is willing to throw in relief for a significantly lower salary.
The veteran lefty is coming off a three-year deal worth $48 million. His 2019 installment was just a little over $18.5 million.
There’s no way any team gives him close to those figures, especially when considering his overwhelming list of past injuries. Being that he’ll turn 40 even before the 2020 regular season begins, it’s safe to say that he won’t land a salary that’s half of what he made last season.
The biggest injury controversy surrounding Hill in recent years was the recurring blisters on his throwing finger. The problem reared its ugliest head in 2017, causing him to miss a big chunk of the season. The blisters resurfaced again early in 2018, but he was still able to rebound and make 24 starts on the year.
In 2019, he made just 13 regular season starts, as a forearm strain kept him on the shelf for the majority of the year. A knee injury compounded his late-season and playoff status, but he continued to persevere, garnering a start in NLDS Game 4, an affair the Dodgers eventually lost, 6-1.
It’s tough to say how much interest Hill will draw on the market, but if he remains in the MLB, he could conceivably shift back to being a reliever or a swing man. In 2013, he made a whopping 64 appearances for the Indians. His best year out of the bullpen came one year prior in Boston, when he threw 25 times in relief, producing an impressive 1.83 ERA.
With Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Ross Stripling all vying for spots in the rotation, one would think there would not be any consideration at all for Hill.
Ryu, on the other hand, is a completely different story. Stay tuned tomorrow for more thoughts on a prospective rotation lineup.