Yankees sign veteran lefty bullpen arm to one-year deal

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox, yankees
Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees‘ bullpen has faced significant challenges recently, with Clay Holmes surrendering five earned runs across his last three appearances and other reliable relievers faltering. In response, the team made a strategic move to bolster their bullpen by signing left-handed pitcher Tim Hill to a one-year contract this past Thursday via Jeff Passan of ESPN.

Yankees Address Bullpen Issues with New Acquisition

At 34 years old, Hill comes to the Yankees after a stint with the Chicago White Sox, where he was released earlier in the season. During his time with the White Sox, Hill pitched 23 innings, recording a 5.87 ERA and a more promising 3.45 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) rate. His stats include a 63.5% left-on-base rate and an impressive 65.6% ground-ball rate. The Yankees are particularly interested in Hill’s ground-ball capabilities, likely seeing it as a key asset for their bullpen.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox
Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Leveraging Hill’s Strengths

Hill is distinguished by his high percentile rankings in barrel rate (99th percentile) and ground-ball rate (98th percentile), which indicate his ability to avoid hard contact and keep home run rates low. He primarily uses a sinker and four-seam fastball combination. However, the Yankees are considering enhancing his effectiveness by incorporating his slider more frequently into his repertoire. Despite averaging only 82 mph, his slider offers significant vertical movement and a gyroscopic effect similar to that of Holmes.

Strategic Fit in Yankee Stadium

Hill’s pitches, particularly his sinker, have been pivotal in achieving high ground-ball rates, a crucial factor in the home-run-friendly environment of Yankee Stadium.

This season, he has relied even more on his sinker, which has contributed to his soaring ground-ball statistics. Under the guidance of pitching coach Matt Blake, the Yankees are optimistic about Hill’s integration into their bullpen strategy. The team has a history of extracting value from pitchers like Hill, and they hope he will be their next successful reclamation project.

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