The Cubs front office is believed to be looking for ways to improve the pitching staff and would at least like to acquire help for the bullpen. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have the team’s scouts doing their homework ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline.
Rich Hill made his first start since May 29 on Saturday and completed six innings against the Pirates. Hill allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and struck out six in six innings. Hill made 83 pitches, 61 for strikes.
Hill was placed on the DL on June 9, retroactive to May 30, with a left groin strain. Hill tried to avoid the disabled list at the time, but the A’s could not wait any longer.
Rich Hill has continued his comeback this season with the A’s. Hill is 8-3 with a 2.31 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 2.71 FIP. In 70 innings, Hill has allowed 21 runs, 18 earned, on 52 hits with 26 walks and 80 strikeouts. Hill has shown, when healthy, the four starts he made for the Red Sox at the end of last season was not a fluke.
Hill has actually put up better numbers on the road this year than in Oakland. Hill is 6-0 in six road starts with a 1.40 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. Hill has allowed only seven runs, six earned, on 26 hits with 12 walks and 34 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings.
While the A’s may not trade outfielder Josh Reddick or lefty reliever Sean Doolittle, Billy Beane is expected to deal Rich Hill before the non-waiver trade deadline (Aug. 1)
Susan Slusser reported the Cubs were among the teams that had scouts on hand Saturday to watch the Pirates and A’s. Slusser did not specifically say the Cubs were there to watch Hill pitch. The Cubs have a three-game series with the Pirates next weekend (July 8-10).
According to the report in the San Francisco Chronicle, “the Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees, Dodgers, Pirates and Royals were among the teams with scouts in attendance Saturday.” The Royals, according to Slusser, are interested in Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick.
Hill is expected to be in high demand. He’s on a one-year contract and owed the remainder of his $6 million salary.
The Cubs front office has a history with Rich Hill. Theo Epstein signed him as a free agent in June of 2010. Hill spent parts of four seasons with the Red Sox. Ben Cherington re-signed Hill in December 2011 after he replaced Epstein as the Sox GM.
The Cubs selected Hill in the fourth round of the 2002 draft and he made his debut on June 15, 2005. Hill pitched in parts of four seasons with the Cubs (2005-08) before he was claimed off waivers from the Orioles in February 2009.