Thursday, January 29, 2009

Orioles To Acquire Hill?

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Orioles are closing in on trade for Cubs pitcher Rich Hill. Hill, who is out of options, was once a top pitching prospect for the Cubs, but has failed to find the strike zone the past couple of seasons. Orioles new pitching coach Rick Kranitz is very familiar with Hill, having coached him in Triple-A with the Cubs. It will be interesting to see how Hill responds to a new opportunity. He has a lot of potential, but just could not command his pitches better. 

The Cubs nearly acquired Brian Roberts last offseason but they backed out when the Orioles continued to hold out for Rich Hill. Hill will likely join former Cub Felix Pie, who the Orioles just acquired for Garrett Olson. In 2005, the Orioles held out for Pie in the trade that would have sent Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada to Chicago (Mark Prior was involved as well). At the time, you could argue one way or the other about the trade. But if these players find success with their new teams, it is very possible that some Cubs executives will be held accountably. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.


Anonymous said...

Rich Hill... Now there's a REAL wildcard. If the Cubs were to keep him, I see one of three things happening:
1) He tears it up in spring training and wins the 5th starter spot.
2) He performs miserably in spring training, clears waivers, and gets outrighted to the minors.
3) He shows progress in spring training, but not enough to make the team, and gets picked up by another club, leaving the Cubs SOL.

There's really no telling which is going to happen. A trade for a PTBNL conditional on his performance may be the best move for the Cubs.

Personally, I think his problems are largely mental, and can be resolved (not as easy as a mechanical problem). John Smoltz was seeing a sports psychologist early in his career, that seemed to work out pretty well. Rich Hill still has a shot at a nice career, but time's running out.

Anonymous said...

"if these players find success with their new teams, it is very possible that some Cubs executives will be held accountably."

With respect, Eli, I think sometimes you tend to underestimate the out-of-options issue with prospects. Pie, Cedeno and Hill (if the trade happens) were all not likely to make the 25 man roster permanently, and thus were likely to be lost to the organization. Trades to rebuilding clubs, where the players will have more time to adjust to the Major Leagues, is the best option for the players and for the teams. It is the right economic decision, regardless of the outcome.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that is true, but a 25th spot for Pie or Cedeno could turn out to be good for the Cubs in the long run. The Cubs tend to keep their players in the minors too long, then call them up and do not really give them a chance to play. Pie is a perfect example, Cedeno is another. Cedeno played in more than 140 games in 2006, but was relegated to a bench role the next two years.

i wouldnt call that development. the cubs wont really utilize their strong minor league system until they win a world series, until then, it is win now every year.

Anonymous said...

I think Hill has had plenty of chances and if they can get something for him why not try.
The Cubs still need a few things and if they are going to make some other moves maybe who they get for Hill will help make a trade for someone else.