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Monday, February 2, 2009

O's acquire Rich Hill


Andy MacPhail continued his wheeling and dealing 2008-2009 offseason by trading for Cubs LHP Rich Hill.

Even better, he acquired Hill for a Player To Be Named Later and removed Brian Burres from the 40-man roster, which essentially makes it a Burres for Hill trade.

And I can live with that every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Rich Hill was chugging along in his career until 2008. In 48 starts over 2006 and 2007, he was 17-15 with a 4.28 ERA, 273 strikeouts and 102 walks. Nothing amazing, but for the Orioles, he would have been the second best pitcher behind Guthrie over that time.

Then, 2008 happened.

Hill only made 5 starts for the Cubs in ‘08, seemingly forgetting how to throw strikes. He walked more batters than he struck out, and was sent to the minors to work on his control. It only got worse. In 10 starts at single-A Dayton and triple-A Iowa, he struck out 46 batters, walked 39 and had a 6.63 ERA.

Yikes.

So, while Rich Hill instantly becomes the most talented pitcher on the O’s, he also becomes the biggest question mark as well. Can he get back to the success he had in 2006 and 2007 when Rick Kranitz was his pitching coach? Or will his meltdown continue in Baltimore?

In short, designating Brian Burres for assignment was worth finding out.

While Burres looked decent at times during his 3 years in Baltimore, he was horrible most of the time, and like the 2008 version of Rich Hill, couldn’t throw strikes consistently.

So while the O's may be re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic by replacing Burres with Hill, at least one of those chairs could turn out to be pretty dang comfortable.

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