In a previous post, I had mentioned my on the Cardinals needing a left handed starter. I even threw out a name I was hopeful for(Jarrod Washburn). Apparently I was nowhere close to what the Cardinal brass were thinking as the lefty they had in mind was ex-Cub prospect, Rich Hill. Hill is a guy who seems like he’s been around forever but really hasn’t. He turns 30 in March, only has 70 major league starts to his name and is coming off the worst season of his career. He wasn’t just bad in limited time last year, he was awful. An era near 8(7.80), 10.6h/9, 6.2bb/9 and 7 homers allowed in 57.2ip. One bright spot is that Hill kept near his career average k/9 with 7.2/9 in ’09 with 8.1/9 for a career. Another is that presuming he fills the back end of the rotation, he will give a totally different look than the rest of the staff. A lefty who’s out pitch is a huge, sweeping curve and relies on the strikeout as much as anything. The Cardinals have been big for a long time on taking guys coming off injuries or bad years, setting them up as reclamation projects for Dave Duncan, and Rich Hill is tailor made to be the next one. If Hill is healthy and anywhere near the form he was in 2007, then having Duncan as a coach might be the boost he needs to fill out some of that long awaited hype he received while he tore through the Cubs system.
Other notable signings include Randy Winn catching on with the Yankees. Winn will turn 36 mid-season, but has always been quietly and consistently good. Not the epitome of the power/speed combo, but does have 7 season with double digit hr and sb under his belt. Looking at Johnny Damon last year we can expect to see some kind of power boost for Winn just based on park factors alone. The Yankees get a plus for this one as they win two ways; by not caving in to Damon and by getting someone who will be just as good or better, for cheaper.