The New York Mets have acquired LHP Rich Hill from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for RHP Tommy Hunter and C Matt Dyer.
The theme of this season for the Mets has been injuries once again. Their starting rotation has been devastated with multiple injuries, leaving them to use spot-starters on many different occasions. Even at his old age, Hill can still be a semi-effective fifth starter. Hill’s strikeout rate has not completely depleted yet. However, after a strong start, Hill has struggled as of late. The Mets are definitely buying low on him and hoping that Hill gets hot late in the season as they try to hold their spot atop the NL East. Given his age, Hill’s underlying numbers are a bit concerning. He has a 4.57 xERA and his 89.1 mph average exit velocity is his highest in the Statcast era.
Hill, 41, has a 3.87 ERA with 91 strikeouts and a 1.164 WHIP in 95.1 innings for the Rays this season. In his MLB career for the Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, and Baltimore Orioles, Hill has a 3.80 ERA with 1126 strikeouts and a 1.217 WHIP in 1071.1 innings pitched.
The Rays are most likely a playoff team this year, barring a collapse. So, them selling is a bit of a surprise. But, it is the Rays, after all. They trade a veteran on an expiring contract and save some money after taking on Nelson Cruz yesterday. Hill’s recent struggles could have ending up in a designation for assignment if it kept going. So, they get some assets for him. Hunter is a journeyman reliever who has been effective for multiple teams, including the Rays. In 2017, he had a 2.61 ERA for the franchise. However, he is currently on the 60-day injured list with a back injury. If he does return this year, Hunter could be a depth bullpen option for the Rays. Dyer is a catcher who was drafted in the 4th round in 2020 out of Arizona. In his first professional season this year, Dyer has been about an average hitter.
Hunter, 35, allowed no runs with six strikeouts, four hits, and three walks in eight innings for the Mets this season. In his MLB career for the Mets, Rays, Philadelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, and Cleveland Indians, Hunter has a 4.04 ERA with 597 strikeouts and a 1.237 WHIP in 871.1 innings.
Dyer, 23, has hit seven home runs with six stolen bases, a .329 OBP and a .781 OPS in 152 Plate Appearances for Single-A St. Lucie this year. In his collegiate career at Arizona, Dyer hit seven home runs with eight stolen bases, a .407 OBP and a .875 OPS.