The Oakland Athletics (47-58) dealt starting pitcher Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick to the Los Angeles Dodgers (59-46) prior to Monday's MLB trade deadline.
The A's smartly played Hill's market to their favor after signing him last November. He looked surprisingly strong at the end of 2015 with the Boston Red Sox, posting a 1.55 ERA with 36 strikeouts and five walks in 29 innings pitched.
Because of Hill's limited track record, which included just 20 total MLB appearances across the 2014 and 2015 campaigns, he didn't find robust offers as a free agent last winter. The rebuilding A's inked him to a one-year, $6 million deal that has turned out to be one of the best bargains of the offseason.
This season, Hill has a 9-3 record with a 2.25 ERA, 90 strikeouts, 28 walks and 1.09 WHIP in 76.0 innings.
The 36-year-old did suffer a mild groin strain in May and was later placed on the disabled list after tweaking the injury during a bullpen session. He has also been dealing with a blister since July 17 and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, retroactive to July 20.
Despite Hill's injury history, this is an important move for the Dodgers. Ace Clayton Kershaw is still recovering from a back injury, and the Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett reported on July 26 that he "still has not been cleared to start a throwing program."
Rosenthal noted in May that the Athletics could have kept Hill and extended a qualifying offer that would at least have netted them a compensatory first-round pick if he signed with another team during the winter (via Connor Byrne of MLB Trade Rumors). However, Oakland general manager Billy Beane understands the best move for the franchise is to deal players heading into free agency to acquire assets who have already begun their professional careers.
Hill figured to be among the most sought-after players available at the deadline by virtue of being one of the only valuable assets playing in a walk year. This winter's free-agent class was dreadful to begin with and only got worse when Stephen Strasburg signed his extension with the Washington Nationals this spring.
If they decide to trade me, then I'll have to go to another team and work hard there. I just came to this country to play baseball. I would like to stay here. But I also understand this is a business. You never know where you are going to end up."
If the Dodgers do trade Puig before the deadline, it may persuade them to re-sign Reddick, who is a free agent after the season.