Should Phillies take a chance on Corey Kluber or Rich Hill?
By Bryce Turner
Similar to Kluber, Rich Hill’s recent injuries could be of concern, but he has the stats to support his impressive comeback story continuing next year.
Hill posted a 4.72 ERA and 1.393 WHIP in 197 games between 2005 and 2014 as either a starter or reliever for six MLB teams. He started 2015 in the minors with the Washington Nationals before being released and finding himself pitching for the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League.
Hill’s comeback began in mid-August 2015, when he was signed by the Boston Red Sox, posting a 1.55 ERA across four September starts, including a complete-game shutout. He recorded a 12-5 record and 2.12 ERA the following season between the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Dodgers, before pitching to a 27-14 record, 3.30 ERA, and 1.110 WHIP with the Dodgers between 2017 and 2019.
Those stats are impressive for a pitcher in his late-30s, who had found himself demoted to independent ball. But the comeback hasn’t been flawless, as injury has been a concern over the past couple of seasons.
Hill missed the start of 2019 with a sprained MCL in his left knee, returning in late-April, only to be sidelined with a forearm injury in June. He returned that September and suffered another left MCL strain during his first game back, keeping him out for a couple of weeks.
Hill signed a $3 million deal with the Minnesota Twins during the offseason, where the pandemic-delayed start gave him time to recover from elbow surgery. He started the season before shoulder fatigue kept him out for roughly two weeks in August.
Despite the injuries and turning 40-years-old, Hill pitched well this season, going five or more innings in six of his eight starts and finishing the year with a 2-2 record, 3.03 ERA, and 1.164 WHIP.
Kluber and Hill would be a welcomed veteran presence to the Phillies rotation.
For a Phillies rotation that lacks depth, either one of these starters would bring proven experience and the potential for success further back in the rotation. They could also be valuable in the advice they would offer to young Phillies pitchers like Spencer Howard and Connor Brogdon.
In addition to the value they could bring, their ages and recent injuries set them up as potential short-term options that may not break the bank, which would help the reportedly cash-strapped Phillies during these pandemic times.
If looking for potential bargains during the offseason, Kluber and Hill are a good place to start.