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Dodgers: The Impact of Rich Hill’s Departure

Dick Mountain is a big loss.



Rich Hill was a beloved piece of the Dodgers for a few seasons running and was one of their most consistent playoff performers. Now, he is gone. On Tuesday, the Minnesota Twins announced that they inked the soon to be 40-year-old left-hander to a one-year deal worth $3 million, with incentives to reach up to $12.5 million. This represents the second key departure from the Dodgers’ starting rotation as Hyun-Jin Ryu fled Los Angeles to Canada for the Blue Jays.

The departure of Rich Hill is a big one in many ways. For a team that struggles in the postseason, they have lost consistency. For a team with what suddenly seems like a young, inexperienced rotation, they lost their anchor. For a team that possesses one of the most laid back rosters in the sport, they lost a little bit of psycho.

The Dodgers will be ushering in a new era for their staff. The rotational ace keys have been handed to right-hander Walker Buehler with Clayton Kershaw still representing a formidable force as a number-two starter. The club, though, will be forced to rely on top prospects in the back end of their rotation to pick up the slack. It is a very tall ask, but if anyone can get it done, it is the trio of 20-somethings in addition to Ross Stripling and Kenta Maeda that can get it done.

Dustin May looks like a budding ace with a feel not too dissimilar from the one fans received when watching Walker Buehler for the first time. Tony Gonsolin also seems poised to be an excellent mid-rotation contributor at the very least. Julio Urias now appears fully healthy and ready to be a rotation piece full-time for the first time in his career. Josiah Gray might even make an appearance this season.

The Dodgers are in good hands in the future, but as currently constructed, they are probably over-relying on youth. However, they are nonetheless in excellent shape.

NEXT: Dodgers 2020 Rotation Ranked Top-10 in MLB by ESPN

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 19 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

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  1. Well, he won’t be missed at all, at least until July! Seriously though, I will miss his base running and plate appearances! He was very entertaining!

  2. Are we talking about the same guy? If I remember correctly, Rich Hill was injured more than he was healthy. He been on the DL/IL 14 times. Most recently, blisters (multiple times), left knee, flexor tendon strain and now he’s out until probably the AS Game. And he’s 39!! What’s to miss? Ok, maybe his attitude will be missed but I’d take a pitcher that will make 25-30 starts. That he didn’t resign him is no big deal but it doesn’t add to narrative that FO is paralyzed this offseason.

    Maybe Freidman was put off by his recent arrest and how it would tarnish the teams image.

  3. He was never the same after Roberts pulled him from his no hitter, or when Roberts pulled him in playoff and World series games , only to relieve him with Kenley or Baez who blew the games. Hill did a great job when he actually was in the line up! I liked his ticked off compettetive attitude. Something I wish more Dodgers possessed especially in clutch moments..

    • That’s what I was thinking. Good man. No matter how good he would pitch, he was always managed by the numbers. Removing him from the WS was one of the things that made me realize no matter how good this team, they would be managed into defeat.

  4. His competitiveness will be the only thing missed. He’s not a big loss at all.
    Solid rotation
    Buehler
    Kershaw
    Maeda
    Stripling
    Urias
    May
    Gonsolin
    This will work to get the Dodgers to the post season. As of now, doesn’t look good going into the post season. Young guns are going to have to step up.

    • I agree: solid rotation this year; but outstanding rotation the following year with all the experience they’ll get this year, and for many years after. The one spot they will have to address is Kershaw’s. He’s here for this year and next. They don’t have a top lefty prospect in the farm system. That is why I’ve written the front office and recommended they package Ruiz with a few others (like Pederson, Santana, maybe even Stripling) to get a top lefty prospect that can be ready in 2 more years. Urias can’t be the only lefty…

    • I agree the Dodgers will get to the postseason because nobody else in the NL West is in position to challenge them (although I expect San Diego to challenge in 2021). It’s the postseason that will be potentially insurmountable. May and Gonsolin have not built up their MLBlevel pitch counts and probably won’t be available at all, or at least not effective in the postseason. Look at How the Padres protected Paddack late last season. He got off to a great start, but the Padres wisely restricted him later in the year. This is done by any organization with an ounce of brains to avoid destroying a young pitcher’s arm. Both May and Gonsolin have tremendous upside for the future. In 2021 they could both be regular starters innto the postseason. But not this year. Urias has had already had a two year shoulder injury vacation. He hasn’t had an MLB start in the past three years. He presents all of the issues of May and Gonsolin with the shoulder Heath on top of it. It is doubtful he woul be available for the postseason unless you restricted his pitching throughout the regular season. Stripling and Buehler got thrust into starting pitcher roles a couple years ago, and both excelled. Stripling even made the All Star team. But look how he did after the All Star break. Not to good. It wasn’t his fault. He was just used up. He didn’t pitch regularly last year, so he will again be used up by the postseason. The Dodgers have moved Maeda to the bullpen in each of the three postseasons, and he has done well. I think that’s where he belongs. Kershaw stayed healthy last year, but in each of the prior three years, he missed major chunks of the season. Even when 100 percent, his postseason drop off has become legendary. That leaves us with Buehler as the only reliable stud in starting rotation for the postseason. It’s not enough. The Dodgers are in dire need of at least one year of an established starter until the rookies are full time in 2021. Gerrit Cole didn’t make sense. You don’t sign somebody for 10 years (at an outrageous salary) to get you over a one year hump. But there are other guys out there that could be aquired in a trade now or at midseason that could get you over the hump. Freidman needs to get to work. The current starting rotation, if you can call it that will not work in 2020 for anything but a division title. For those of you who like second guess Dave Roberts, you will have a target rich environment in 2021 with the current rotation. Nobody could manage it well. It will starting pitcher musical chairs extraordinaire. Just give Roberts another proven starter so we can all relax a little bit, instead of feeling like where trying to win a lottery.

  5. I really don’t see the value in this guy when there are multiple young pitchers that need time. The Dodgers need to rebuild their roster from within because it clearly isn’t good enough to win it all now that the Yankees will dominate. Seriously, this team needs some weeding out if they aren’t going to go for it anymore. The window for a WS win is closed. Oh yeah sure they will get to 95 wins and close out maybe a 2nd round exit. It’s boring to continue to see whiff Pederson, Kiki, Taylor and now Pollock year after year completely fall flat in the Playoffs. At least give the so called great farm players a shot and actually see if there are major leaguers in the bunch.

    • True Nik, even Seager and Bellringer always fall flat. Only Turner and Munch show up in Oct . Puig was sorely missed this past Oct something you won’t here anyone mention. They chose to get rid of Puig for Verdugo, and chose to get rid of Grandal for Smith. Both moves from the FO were colossal mistakes. So heading into this year with Freeze and Ryu being replaced basically by May and Lux is another head scratcher from the supposed genius money ball FO. Subtraction does not = addition unless the subtraction of money to lineup, then the addition goes into the Owners pockets.

      • Puig was a head case, glad he’s gone. Do you not remember watching Grandal in the post season? Talking about falling flat, that dude was the worst. Smith and Ruiz coming up, no need to resign him. Replacing old and/or injuring prone players with young top prospects is what you would want right? Obviously Lux, May, Smith, Gonsolin, and Verdugo have huge potential. How are you going to find out if they don’t play? Out with the old in with the new!

        • All I know is Grandal with the bat in the post season showed up, and you must have forgot Puig clutch moments in Houston for the clutch homers in the World series, or in L.A. both leads blown by the Bull pen and Kershaw! Smith blew it last year, Verdugo didn’t last the season! Smith didn’t deserve to be starting as you may forget Russell Martins 4 R.b.I. game for the win? I’m all for youth Fire Dave, but Friedman sure has a way of sitting experienced clutch players and getting rid of anyone that will be deserving of a big pay day , but you go ahead and keep believing the excuses Puig was a head case, Grandal is old!!! Grandal sure looked old at the Dodger game I was at last summer when he was 4-5 with 5 RBIs, and beat us by himself. And sure looked washed up big AB after another for Milwaukee. Both players were deserving of big pay days and once again, more excuses to rid Dodger players that were being paid!!!

          • You, like many others on this site, suffer from Friedman Derangement Syndrome. Nothing the guy does will ever be good enough. If you think Puig isn’t a head case and that big contract he so deserves (which he still is a FA weird????) you are clearly suffering big time. Never said Grandal was old. You constantly talk about players choking in the post season. Love everything you bring up about him was during the regular season. Grandal was benched for Barnes because he was doing so bad. There was no point to resign Grandal to his big contract because we have Smith and Ruiz. The offense did not miss Grandal one bit last year. You don’t even sound like a Dodger fan. All you do is talk sh** about the team and FO. Maybe it’s time to take a time out and a deep breath.

          • LA is not going to throw big money at 31 year old catchers. You can take that to the bank. Grandal had some solid seasons in LA, but he wasn’t Mike Piazza. You don’t resign a guy like that (with two big catcher prospects in the system coming up), particularly when he was benched in favor of Mendoza Barnes so often in October.

  6. pretty much the case here Kirk, but as far as Smith goes, I would not yet say he is considered a minus from Grandal. But as Nik said, this current roster is NOT one to get far in October and no matter what Roberts is still around and arrogantly told Bill Plasche of the LA times that he would make those exact pitching decisions all over again that were made in the NLDS game 5. I am not sure I can handle another or 4th consecutive PS bouncing on the Dodger’s home field no less.

  7. Rich Hill and Ryu will be missed when they were healthy and they were not reliable health wise. At 40
    years old Rich Hill’s health and age are a huge liability. Buehler is the anchor and Kershaw provides what’s needed in the 3 spot. Maeda is okay at 4 and Urias,Stripling and May and Gonsolin can battle for the 5th spot. We need a number 2 starter and if not, at least get someone reliable enough to take number 3 and move up Kershaw to 2.

    • I kinda feel that way too as much as I love Rich, Kid B. He’s just a guy I wouldn’t be surprised throws 15-20 innings and at this point the Dodgers had to move.

  8. hill probably would have come back but the dodgers too long to make up their minds so he signed with the twins maeda and striplling are better in the bullpen then starting

  9. Look down that list of “gone from the 2017 WS team” and imagine how many you’d really want to occupy a roster spot this coming year. Morrow, if healthy? Grandal, sure, but not for what he’s being paid. Ethier and Utley are retired, Fields is out of baseball, Forsythe was worst 2B disaster this franchise has traded for since Pedro Martinez for Delino Deshields. No one wanted Darvish back, and his 2 years if misery in Chicago show that was the right decision. Alex Wood was useless for Cincy last year, and Yasiel Puig could probably be brought back for a song right now, if there was any reason to do so (which there is not). The problem isn’t so much who’s gone from that team, but the condition of the holdovers from it. Kershaw is obviously over the hill, and Jansen is right along there with him. We’re now stuck with another declining veteran in AJ Pollack, and will watch Joc Pederson walk after this coming season.

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