The Miami Marlins want to trade for a pitcher, and a lot of names have come up. There are unrealistic targets like young, cost-controlled guys like Drew Pomeranz and Jake Odorizzi and there are less glamorous, cheaper names like Bud Norris. There are even relief names like Aroldis Chapman and Fernando Rodney. But in a recent FanGraphs chat, Dave Cameron mentioned one name that straddles the middle of all of these extremes.
Daniel: What do the Marlins do at the deadline, sir?
Dave Cameron: They seem like a good fit for Rich Hill.
Why is Rich Hill an interesting name for the Fish? On the one hand, Hill is probably one of the highest-impact names you will find in the trade market in 2016. In 11 starts so far this year, he has a 2.25 ERA and 2.71 FIP with a ridiculous 28 percent strikeout rate. This type of pitcher is exactly the sort of deadline move who could make an impact replacing the team’s constantly-rotating fifth starter spot or Tom Koehler in the rotation. Hill has now shown over the course of nearly 100 innings in these last two years that he is at least an above-average starting pitcher with the chance for being a high-level starter.
At the same time, the costs to acquiring Hill may be lower than expected. When he was rolling for the Oakland Athletics, picking up Hill for a half a season and change may have cost an acquiring club a good deal more. However, for the past month, Hill has been sidelined with a groin strain, and he will have limited time to show off his wares post-injury before a deadline deal. This may lower the cost of acquiring him slightly.
In addition to this, the bottom line is that Hill is only available to a team for half a season, as he only signed a one-year deal worth $6 million. It is likely that, if he performs well through 2016, he will receive a larger two- or three-year deal in free agency following this season, but the Marlins would not necessarily have to worry about being the team to pay him. His current contract is both ridiculously affordable and short enough that some teams would not be interested in a short-term upgrade.
Of course, some of those reasons are why the Marlins themselves might not be interested. The Fish, as we know, have very few bullets in their trade arsenal. They are unwilling to deal Major League talent, even with the expected second/third base glut of talent when Dee Gordon returns from his suspension. They are relatively bereft of high-impact minor league talent, with former first-round picks Tyler Kolek and Josh Naylor still boasting questions. Right now, the fastest-rising name in the minors for Miami is probably Chris Paddack, who has looked sensational this season. Would Miami give up someone like that for a half-season upgrade?
Would it take that much? Could Miami coax a deal involving, say, Jarlin Garcia and Kendry Flores or another low-level high-minors talent in order to pry Rich Hill off of their hands? That would further deplete the team’s resources, but it would not surprise any Marlins fans if none of those guys become household Major Leaguers in the future. Realistically, any more of a cost and Miami would probably balk at a half-year commitment to a starter. The team notoriously is willing to pay up a lot more for cost-controlled talent; this is the same club that gave up their first-round pick from the previous year in Colin Moran along with a nearly Majors-ready center fielder in Jake Marisnick as part of a deal to pick up Jarred Cosart.
Ultimately, the Marlins have too little on hand and too much of a desire to upgrade long-term to actually pick up a high-value short-term guy like Hill. If they go the one-year route, expect something like Bud Norris for a mid-grade lottery ticket player rather than a more substantial name for someone better like Hill.