Jon Morosi and Jane Lee of MLB.com have tweeted that Oakland A’s starting pitcher Rich Hill will mostl likely be traded before the MLB’s July 31 trade deadline – but only if he gets healthy.
The 36-year-old is having a breakout year as a starter, posting a 9-3 record with a 2.25 ERA in 14 starts. The A’s unlikely ace has had his name floating around in trade rumors for the past month, as his move to another team is expected league-wide.
Hill has been sidelined twice this season, first with a groin injury earlier this year and now he’s dealing with a blister on one of his throwing hand’s fingers. Getting him healthy will only up the price in the trade market.
Currently more than ten games out of a playoff spot, the A’s are sellers at the deadline – again.
Last July, general manager Billy Beane traded away Scott Kazmir to the Houston Astros, Ben Zobrist to the Kansas City Royals and reliever Tyler Clippard to the New York Mets all for five minor league prospects.
This season, much like Hill, outfielder Josh Reddick and first baseman Billy Butler have also been involved in trade rumors.
Reddick, whose contract expires this winter, is not expected to sign an extension before the end of the season and would most likely be a rental for a playoff team looking for a starting outfielder.
Meanwhile, Butler and his massive contract (makes $11,667,000 next season) could be packaged with another player on the block to relieve the budget. His production as an A’s starter has been disappointing to say the least. He has mostly been a designated hitter this season, but has only two home runs and is batting just .253.
Starting pitcher Sonny Gray, who finished third in the AL Cy Young award vote last season, has also been brought up in trade talks, but a move is highly unlikely after his slumping numbers this season.
Knowing Beane’s tendencies, if any trade were to happen, the returns would be prospects, cash or a combination of both.