Rays deal lefty Rich Hill to Mets

July 24th, 2021

A day after acquiring designated hitter Nelson Cruz, the Rays traded left-hander to the Mets for catching prospect Matt Dyer and reliever .

Hill was scheduled to pitch this weekend against the Indians, but the Rays brought up Luis Patiño to join the rotation -- he started Thursday's 5-4, 10-inning win over the Indians -- so they had six starters for five spots. Right-hander Chris Archer (right forearm tightness) is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Durham and believed to be coming back soon, while Minor League right-hander Shane Baz will likely contribute at some point after pitching for Team USA at the Olympics. Meanwhile, ace Tyler Glasnow is hoping to return in September.

Rays get: RHP Tommy Hunter, Minor League C Matt Dyer
Mets get: LHP Rich Hill

Hill was 6-4 with a 3.87 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 95 1/3 innings, though he owns a 5.40 mark in his past seven starts. The Mets were looking for a starter after losing Jacob deGrom and David Peterson to injuries.

“It was not an easy [trade to make],” Rays general manager Erik Neander said. “We were trending in the direction of having more starters, length options than spots. … Keeping our options open, Arch threw the ball well [Thursday] night [in rehab]. His return is getting closer.

“We try to keep an open mind to the interest that was out there and kind of assessing something was going to have to give within our group, and that goes from Patiño and some desire to give more than a spot start here and there to help him find his footing as a 21-year-old that we are really high on. We are going to give him a fair shake at growing.”

Hunter, 35, was on the Mets' 60-day injured list because of a back ailment. Before the injury, he appeared in four games and allowed no runs in eight innings for New York. Hunter has pitched for seven teams in 14 years in the Major Leagues and has appeared in 476 games, 400 in relief. Once he is healthy, Hunter will likely be in Tampa’s bullpen.

Neander is not sure when Hunter will return to action: “It’s to be determined.” This will be Hunter’s second stint with the Rays, after he appeared in 61 games for them in 2017.

“We like Tommy. We have a history with Tommy. We have been able to get the most out of Tommy,” Neander said. "Being on the [injured list], it’s a little depth that you never know. A lot of 'you never knows' are nice to have as we cover the last few months.”

Dyer, 23, was picked by New York in the fourth round of the 2020 MLB Draft and is in his first year of professional baseball. He was hitting .194 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs for Low-A St. Lucie. Dyer can also play right field and first base in addition to catcher.

“Very athletic, very versatile. He profiles as someone that can play a lot of positions and play them pretty well, including catcher, and that’s something where he is an organizational fit,” Neander said. “There’s a lane there for him to grow, and there is plenty of time to do that. He is not stepping on the toes of other prospects and the like.”