As the calendar approaches 2020 and Rich Hill approaches 40 years old, he knows one thing for sure: he doesn’t want to stop playing.
I caught up with The Only Free Agent Pitcher Who Matters.
“I like to play in front of a lot of people. I like the excitement. I like the heat of the big market.”
— Andy McCullough (@ByMcCullough) December 11, 2019
At least that’s what he told The Athletic’s Andy McCullough. Hill ended the season unsure if he would pitch for the Dodgers again after doctors examined his elbow, they were unsure if he would ever pitch again at all. Rather than opt for a second Tommy John surgery, Hill decided to undergo a primary revision operation, which carries a recovery time of about seven to eight months. This means Hill would likely be out until June, although he told McCullough he hopes to start a throwing program in January.
The free agent pitcher told McCullough he hopes to sign with a team ahead of spring training, though he prefers to land with either the Dodgers or Red Sox. Hill pointed to his value outside of the rotation as well as his production on the field as reasons why teams should look at him.
“I’m definitely not opposed to signing now,” Hill told McCullough. “I think that does give the opportunity for the team, to be honest, to benefit from my experience as a whole. You’ve got a guy who comes into spring training as a veteran, and can help younger guys out. But also, come June, you’re going to get a quality starter. And a guy who has plenty of playoff experience.”
Hill reiterated his love for playing in LA, saying that he felt fortunate to be able to play in front of regular crowds of 50,000 when it’s “tough to even turn the TV on” for other markets.
Whether Hill winds back up in LA or finds himself elsewhere, he will always be a Dodger to fans in LA.