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Mets Rumors: SP Rich Hill Acquired in Trade from Rays for Tommy Hunter, Matt Dyer

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 23, 2021

AP Photo/Adam Hunger

The New York Mets reportedly acquired veteran starting pitcher Rich Hill from the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported the deal, with MLB Insider Robert Murray adding the deal is close. Joel Sherman of the New York Post said the Rays will receive veteran reliever Tommy Hunter and minor-league catcher Matt Dyer in return.

At 41 years of age, Hill is the oldest pitcher in Major League Baseball, and he is now set to join his 11th different MLB team.

In 2021, which is Hill's 17th MLB season, he has made 19 starts for the Rays. Hill has accrued a 6-4 record to go along with a 3.87 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 91 strikeouts over 95.1 innings.

While 12 of Hill's starts have lasted five innings or less, he figures to be a good fit at the back of New York's starting rotation.

When healthy, the Mets have one of the best starting pitching trios in the league with Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman. Settling on the Nos. 4 and 5 starters has been difficult, though, especially with David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi landing on the injured list.

The sense of urgency to land another starter increased even more recently with deGrom landing on the 10-day IL as well.

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Once deGrom returns, the Mets should have a solid starting five in place with deGrom, Walker, Stroman, Hill and Tylor Megill.

While Hill has never been named an All-Star or won a World Series, he has enjoyed a highly successful career. In 311 appearances, including 183 starts, Hill has posted a 73-48 record, 3.80 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 1,126 strikeouts over 1,071.1 innings.

Hill also has 13 games of postseason experience to his credit, including pitching in the World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017 and 2018.

Hunter, who is the best-known part of Tampa's return in the trade, is currently on the 60-day IL after initially being placed on the 10-day IL in May with lower back pain.

The 35-year-old Hunter has appeared in four games this season, posting a 0.00 ERA and striking out six in eight innings.

Hunter has pitched for seven different teams during his 14-year career. That includes a one-year stint with the Rays in 2017 when he went 3-5 with a 2.61 ERA over 61 outings.

In 476 career MLB regular-season appearances, Hunter is 56-45 with a 4.04 ERA.

The 23-year-old Dyer will likely be the biggest determining factor in who ultimately wins Friday's trade.

Dyer was a fourth-round draft pick of the Mets in 2020 out of the University of Arizona after hitting .393 in 2019. He dropped off significantly in 15 games for the Wildcats in 2020, though, hitting just .220.

The Phoenix native has appeared in 36 games for A-ball St. Lucie this season, playing catcher, first base, third base and right field. He is slashing .194/.329/.452 with seven home runs, 20 RBI and six stolen bases.

Adding Hill is a logical move for a Mets team that owns a four-game lead in the National League East, although the trade is somewhat curious for the Rays, as they are just one game out of first in the American League East and currently hold a wild-card spot. 

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