Like every other team in Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Indians employ numerous players throughout their organization, from the big-league club in Cleveland to their rookie league team in Arizona and beyond. And like every other Major League franchise, the Indians add and subtract from this player pool on a regular basis. This irregular series will serve to post notice when a former Indians player has done something noteworthy with a quick look back at the player’s time in Cleveland.
Player: LHP Rich Hill
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim New York Yankees
Year(s) in Indians Organization: 2013
Why Isn’t He Still in Cleveland:
How does one measure the effectiveness of a reliever? Rich Hill was brought onto the Indians partially at the bequest of Manager Terry Francona, who managed Hill briefly in Boston. Hill made the team and was expected to operate mostly as a LOOGY. The traditional stats weren’t pretty for Hill. If you care about your reliever’s ERA (and it’s kind of hard to care about Hill’s, as he only pitched in 38.2 innings), Hill’s was nasty in the bad way at 6.28, with 29 walks in his 63 appearances. One could look at those numbers and wonder why Hill was on the team the entire year. But that’s a lazy way to look at things, and looking deeper shows the value Hill provided: lefties had a hard time hitting him, with a .238 batting average against (though this was somewhat mitigated by the 19 walks he issued to LHB) and Hill was filthy in high-leverage and medium-leverage situations.
What He Did: After not being resigned by the Indians, Hill signed a minor-league deal with the Boston Red Sox to remain closer to his family, but tragically lost his infant son. Hill had been pitching for AAA Pawtucket before the Angels traded for him on July 1 for cash considerations. On July 9, he was released, but signed a minor-league deal with the New York Yankees on July 16.
What Does the Future Hold? In a clever turn-the-tables-type move, the Yankees promoted Hill after allowing LHP Matt Thornton to be claimed by the Washington Nationals. Thornton was having a good season, but his 24.2 IP are expensive as the LOOGY was also signed at $3.5 million for 2015. The Yankees decided to dump the salary and roll with Hill in Thornton’s steed, as there likely as a LOOGY wasn’t going to be a major impact on the team’s fortunes. Hill faced a batter for New York on August 5, and hit him with a pitch. Hill has faced five batters total in 2014, allowing one hit and walking three. Regardless of his performance, Hill oddly became a favourite of the Wahoo’s on First podcast, and as long as he isn’t pitching against Cleveland, we wish him well.