With yesterday's not-so-Earth-shattering news that Garrett Olson and Ronny Cedeno to the Mariners for Aaron Heilman -- not to mention the earlier offseason trade of Felix Pie to the Orioles -- one might think the Cubs would be done trading away their youngish pitching prospects. Alas, one would be wrong.
Remember Rich Hill? Sure you do! He was the guy that used to be really good for the Cubs (he was an untouchable prospect, in some people's eyes, even though he wasn't exactly a "prospect" anymore) and then wasn't so good last year? If Jim Hendry has his way, he'll find a taker for Hill before the offseason is over ... and he might not be done signing free agents, either, at least according to ESPN's Bruce Levine:
The Cubs have also been weighing offers for left-handed pitcher Rich Hill. Hill, who has the yips (continually walks batters), tried to correct his problem with a stint in winter ball this season. After a couple of encouraging starts, Hill went back to walking a batter per inning. The Cubs are still looking at other free-agent starting pitchers. Former Cardinal Braden Looper and left-hander Randy Wolf are still on their want list if they aren't able to revisit the Jake Peavy deal with the Padres.
(According to Levine, the Cubs are also looking at Juan Uribe for a 25th man/bench hitter role. Fun!)
At age 27, Rich Hill posted a 1.195 WHIP and a league-adjusted ERA+ score of 119. Those are good numbers for a 27-year-old. Unfortunately, 27 happens to be most pitchers' peak years, and that was Hill's; he never managed to regain the control that allowed him to keep hitters off balance, and his walks skyrocketed, and things got ugly fast.
Hill's only value now is as a cheap reclamation project. It probably won't take much for Hendry to agree to a deal, but really, who wants Hill now? Is it possible the Cubs could find anything of value? It almost makes more sense to hold on to Hill for another year, see what happens, and then deal him. His value couldn't plumment any further. What's the big hurry?