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Reports: Rays Have Deals With Hill, McHugh

A shot of Tropicana Field from the press box above home plate
The Rays will welcome back fans to Tropicana Field for the first time since the 2019 postseason (photo: Steve Carney/St. Pete Nine)

The Tampa Bay Rays look to have added two more pitchers to the mix for 2021.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com and Robert Murray of FanSided reported that Tampa Bay and left-hander Rich Hill have agreed to a one-year deal, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the team also reached a one-year deal with right-hander Collin McHugh.

Hill, who will turn 41 during Spring training, made eight starts in 2020 with the Minnesota Twins.  He finished with a 2-2 record and a 3.03 earned run average.  He finished with 31 strikeouts in 38.2 innings and his 7.2 K/9 rate was his lowest as starting pitcher since the 2009 season.

McHugh, who turns 34 during the season, has not pitched in a big league game since August 30, 2019.  He suffered an elbow injury that ended his season, and had a surgical procedure during the offseason to help it try and heal.  He then signed with the Boston Red Sox for the 2020 season, but opted out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  His best season came in 2018, when in 58 relief appearances, he went 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA.

The team has not announced either signing, and it appears unlikely that either deal will be announced before the start of Spring Training.  At that point, the Rays can start placing players on the injured list, and can open up spots on the 40-man roster by placing Jalen Beeks, Yonny Chirinos, and Colin Poche, who all had Tommy John surgery in 2020, on the 60-day IL.

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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