Rich Hill re-signs with Red Sox for 7th time

December 2nd, 2021

Veteran left-hander is coming home -- again.

The Red Sox announced on Wednesday they signed the Milton, Mass., native to a one-year deal. Terms were not disclosed, but a source told's Jon Paul Morosi that the deal is worth $5 million and includes up to $3 million more in incentives.

This will be the 41-year-old Hill’s fourth tour of duty with the franchise he grew up rooting passionately for as a kid and the seventh free-agent deal he's signed with the Sox. Hill has maintained residence in the Boston area even as he has gone around the country to pitch for different teams in recent years.

“This guy is one of the best competitors in our game. And it seems like he doesn't age,” said Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom. “Wherever he goes, he has success. Not only is he a good pitcher, but he's a tremendous clubhouse presence.”

It was with the Red Sox that in 2015 that Hill resurrected his career after he had been released by the Washington Nationals earlier that summer and found himself pitching for the Long Island Ducks, an independent league team.

Boston gave Hill the chance to start again in the Majors for the first time since 2009 after he had transitioned to becoming a reliever following a barrage of injuries that Hill. Hill finished that ’15 season with a 2-1 record and a 1.55 ERA in four starts, walking five and striking out 36 over 29 innings.

That was the beginning of a revival that has continued all the way to his latest reunion with the Red Sox for the 2022 season. Hill was a prominent member of the Dodgers from 2017-19, helping the club to back-to-back World Series appearances, including one against the Red Sox in ’18.

In fact, one of the most controversial moves of that Fall Classic came when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts took Hill out after 6 1/3 brilliant innings in Game 4. After his exit, the Red Sox came roaring back from a 4-0 deficit and won to take a 3-1 series lead. Boston clinched the championship in Game 5 the next night at Dodger Stadium.

Hill continued to defy time in 2021, appearing in 32 games (31 of which were starts) and posting a 3.86 ERA (103 ERA+) for the Rays and Mets. The left-hander’s 17th MLB season began with Tampa Bay, for whom he made 19 starts with a 3.87 ERA. He was traded to the Mets in July, and pitched to a 3.84 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) for New York down the stretch.

The Rays and Mets were the 11th and 12th teams he’s played for. It’s a testament to his remarkable longevity, and while he isn’t one of the top starters in the game, he’s certainly still proving he can be a solid addition to the back of a starting rotation.

Hill continued to do what he’s done historically when it comes to quality of contact -- the 34.8 percent hard-hit rate against him last season was in the 79th percentile among qualified pitchers. A concerning number for Hill, however, was his ground-ball rate, which was significantly lower than his career norm, at 35.9 percent.

Though he has a deep arsenal of pitch types, including a sinker, slider, changeup and cutter, Hill lives mostly on a four-seam fastball-curveball mix. Until it’s proven otherwise, the veteran left-hander remains an effective out-getter who could add much-needed depth to a pitching staff.

Hill also pitched for the Red Sox from 2010-12, and in Boston’s Minor League system in ’14.

For his career, Hill is 74-52 with a 3.80 ERA in 324 appearances, 195 of which have been starts.

The Red Sox have made multiple rotation in additions in recent days. On Nov. 27, they signed righty Michael Wacha to a one-year deal. Lefty James Paxton, who won’t pitch until at least midseason of ’22 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April, agreed to terms with the Sox on a one-year deal that includes a double option for 2023-24. The contract with Paxton hasn’t been announced yet.

“We talked about adding starters. We talked about adding to our bullpen and everywhere in between. Rich can do a lot of those different things,” said Bloom. “I think last year he had an incredibly successful season primarily as a starting pitcher. And his ability to do that is huge. But to add to this group that we have, to have the depth to make sure we're not putting too much on our young guys and that we have enough capable Major League pitchers to get through the marathon of a season, is huge.”