Sunday, November 8, 2015

Rich Hill the 2016 Version of Chris Capuano, Only Better

Back during the summer of 2014 the New York Yankees let left-handed reliever Matt Thornton go to the Washington Nationals in a straight waiver claim with the promise that the Yankees young talent would begin to funnel into the bullpen out of the minor leagues. One Josh Outman and one Rich Hill signing later and the Yankees had their replacements, neither of which were Yankees prospects mind you, although both were ultimately designated for assignment before the 2015 season. Outman has not had any significant time back in the Major Leagues since then but Hill reinvented himself as a starting pitcher with the Boston Red Sox and enjoyed a rejuvenated second half with the ball club. Hill is set to hit free agency this season, wouldn’t he be the perfect candidate to be in 2016 what Chris Capuano was supposed to be in 2015?

Hill will be 36-years old when the 2016 season begins, the same age as Capuano, but the similarities don’t stop there. Both reinvented and rejuvenated their careers with other teams before catching the Yankees eyes and both can easily bounce back and forth between the bullpen and the starting rotation. Both are left-handed and would serve as more than suitable long relief roles with the club. The biggest glaring difference is that if a Yankees starter goes down and Hill pitches like he did for the Red Sox this season he could make an immediate impact for the Yankees in the rotation. Capuano, on the other hand, merely gave the Yankees some innings and tried his best to keep the team in those games before burning out the bullpen. Hill could quietly be a difference maker for the team in 2016.

With the Yankees roster seemingly set and the majority of the money allocated towards 2016 already spent New York is going to have to get creative, get depth and get lucky if they want to compete for a World Series championship next season. It will be players like Hill, the bench roles that can play multiple positions and bring versatility and the minor league deals and the one-year deals that catch lightning in a bottle that is going to separate New York from the other teams in the American League East Division. Does that start with Hill? If it doesn’t then it probably should. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)