Rays, Mets Complete Trade to Send Rich Hill to Queens

The Tampa Bay Rays, less than 24 hours after the acquisition of 7x All-Star Nelson Cruz, continue to set the market ahead of the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. This time, they subtract a 41-year-old from their Major League roster as they deal Rich Hill to the New York Mets, who desperately continue their search for rotation arms.

Hill has been an ageless wonder the last few seasons. Despite his lifetime 3.80 ERA, Hill has a 3.07 ERA since the start of the 2015 season across time with Boston, Oakland, Los Angeles, Minnesota and Tampa Bay. Hill, who signed with Tampa Bay this past offseason on a one year, $2.5M pact, posted a 0.78 ERA in the month of May en route to an AL Pitcher of the Month award. Hill has posted a 3.87 ERA on the season, outperforming his peripherals (4.55 FIP). After a great start, it’s been downhill, one could say, pun intended. Over his last seven starts, Rich Hill has a 5.40 ERA. However, with Jacob deGrom, David Peterson, Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard on the IL, the Mets need starting pitching in a major way. The first place New York Mets sit 50-43 heading into play on Friday, only four games up on the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves.

For the second place Rays, who enter play 58-39 and a game back of the Red Sox, the subtraction of starting pitching from the MLB roster is an interesting development considering they’re reported to be all in on finding rotation arms as well. Perhaps, they’re looking for more controllable arms or arms with high velocity in the absence of Tyler Glasnow. As of right now, they’re putting out a rotation featuring rookies Shane McClanahan, Luis Patino and Josh Fleming. The staff is now led by Ryan Yarbrough and Michael Wacha. It’s a little underwhelming, even though the Rays continue to find ways to win.

Heading back to the Rays is former Ray Tommy Hunter. Hunter played for the Rays in 2017, posting a 2.61 ERA in 58 innings of work. There has been rumblings that Tommy Hunter may be down for the season, as he’s been on the 60-day IL since May. Though, there has been no timetable given for a potential return to the Majors. Joining him will be prospect Matt Dyer, a catching prospect who was the Mets fourth round pick in 2020. Dyer, 22, has a .781 OPS in St. Lucie this season.

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