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Mets' Updated Pitching Rotation, Payroll After Reported Trade for Rich Hill

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2021

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Rich Hill delivers against an Atlanta Braves batter in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 18, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Few contenders in all of Major League Baseball are dealing with the pitching injury issues that the New York Mets face, but they reportedly bolstered their starting staff Friday.

The Mets will acquire left-handed pitcher Rich Hill from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Tommy Hunter and Matt Dyer, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan, who also credited Joel Sherman of the New York Post and MLB Insider Robert Murray.

Such a move is critical considering MLB.com notes Jacob deGrom (right forearm tightness), Noah Syndergaard (recovery from Tommy John surgery), Carlos Carrasco (torn right hamstring), David Peterson (right side soreness) and Robert Stock (right hamstring strain) are among those sidelined for the National League East leaders.

The trade will also impact the payroll in addition to the rotation.

According to Spotrac, the Mets have the third-highest payroll in 2021 behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees at $198.2 million. That becomes $200.7 million if Hill's $2.5 million in base salary is included.

Look for the rotation to start with Marcus Stroman, who will then be followed by some combination of Taijuan Walker, Hill and Tylor Megill.

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Hill, 41, first broke into the major league level in 2005 for the Chicago Cubs. He has since pitched for the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland, Los Angeles Angels, Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Rays.

The southpaw has a 3.87 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 91 strikeouts in 95.1 innings this season and has not finished with an ERA above 4.00 since the 2013 campaign. While he hasn't been quite as effective as he was when he posted a 2.45 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with the 2019 Dodgers, he is still a solid addition for a Mets squad looking to win the NL East for the first time since 2015.

New York is four games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves in the division and has managed to tread water despite so many injuries to the pitching staff.

Hill provides injury insurance and a veteran presence in the clubhouse as the team eyes October.  

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