The pitching-starved New York Mets completed their first major move before the July 30 trade deadline, bringing 41-year-old starter Rich Hill from the Tampa Bay Rays. To complete the transaction, they sent injured reliever Tommy Hunter and minor leaguer Matt Dyer.
Rich offers the Mets a reliable starter with playoff experience and the required versatility to change roles: he could be a traditional starter, a ‘bulk’ reliever, or a piggyback pitcher after another one.
The left-hander has been having a tremendous year with Tampa, with a 6-4 record, a 3.87 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 95.1 innings and 19 starts. He also has 91 strikeouts.
It’s a very good deal for the Mets. “A lot of people in the game know the name,” manager Luis Rojas said to MLB.com. “It’s a great fit, a great acquisition. Our front office is being diligent. We’ve talked about our starting pitching need. This is a guy that fits right in.”
A very savvy addition by the Mets
There is still no firm date for Hill to take the mound and make his Mets debut, but Sunday or Monday are the best possibilities.
“I’m just really, really excited to get to know Rich,” Rojas said. “I can’t wait for him to get here and then see when he’s going to be available wearing a Mets uniform, pitching out there. It’s great that we’re in a homestand, and it will be awesome that he pitches here, in front of the fans. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
The addition of Hill reportedly will not stop the Mets from looking at other avenues to improve the rotation. Right now, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto, David Peterson, and Noah Syndergaard are out with injury.
Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker, and Trevor Megill have done a fantastic job in offering some stability.
“He’s going to walk off the mound with literally nothing left every single time,” said Mets reliever Trevor May, who was Hill’s teammate in Minnesota last season. “That’s something that, as a team, I think that’s a pretty good representation of the Mets this year. His whole thing is very much our whole thing.”