Rich Hill is in a unique situation.
He is a free agent that isn’t prioritizing years or money and has the skill-set — both on the field and off — most any team would want.
It’s why the Milton native's approach to finding his next team is almost as simple as familiarizing himself with the World Series odds for 2021 and going from there.
“I feel like I'm fortunate to be a position ... I never thought, when you think back five years ago or six years ago after a third act, so to speak for myself in my career, how the mindset has totally changed from when you're a rookie,” the 40-year-old Hill during his latest appearance on the Bradfo Sho podcast (to be released Monday). “Now it's almost looking at Vegas and seeing who is going to win the World Series next year and calling them up. That's how I feel. I want to win a Word Series and I want to be a part of that.
“I’m going to be 41 next year. I feel like I'm in great shape. I feel like I obviously have the ability to contribute and contribute in a big way. That's why we chose Minnesota last year. Coming off the season where they won over 100 games and seeing they had the opportunity that they put themselves in to be competitive. And not only be competitive but really have a chance to win. Unfortunately it didn't work out.
“A lot of things that are going to go into the decision of where we're going to sign this year I think one of them, and one of the big ones, is winning. Understanding that is first and foremost. Also, location. For my family and being able to see the games and have our son around. Just being a part of it is very important.”
So, about his hometown Red Sox …
Perhaps they aren’t the no-holds-barred kind of contenders Hill speaks of, but there is potential, they play near his home and it would seem there is a need for some reliable starting pitching .
When the subject is brought up Hill doesn’t tip his hand, but just chuckles and offers a breakdown of Chaim Bloom’s club.
“Bullpen. Work on the bullpen,” he said. “I think the lineup is good. Get everybody back. Obviously getting Sale back is huge. Eddie, having him come back, being healthy. And Nathan. Those are three really, really, really good guys.”
Hill, who was coming off an procedure on his elbow heading into the 2020 season with the Twins, continues to show he can be of value to a starting rotation, finishing is eight starts with Minnesota having compiled a 3.03 ERA while giving up more than two runs just once.
So, is he serious about simply going down the list of contenders and making it clear there is an interest?
“Absolutely,” Hill said. “Look, being put in a position where we're able to make a decision that is about winning and not anything else. In my opinion, I've been around a lot of winning throughout my entire career when I look back at it. I have played with guys who haven't been around winning teams. I know how amazing it is to get to that point. I didn't really realize it until having the opportunity of going to two World Series and coming so close in one of them to win, how important it is. Playing with a guy like Derek Jeter in New York and hearing him say, 'When the team doesn't win a World Series it's a failed year.' Those are pretty, A. High expectations, and B. It's very blunt. That's how I look at it now. I understand it, but I didn't understand it back in 2014.
“The other side of it is just being able to ... behind the scenes things that go on. Understanding you're seeing younger players that are unbelievably talented, so talented, that are struggling with different things other than just being gifted and have that ability. How do we deal with results and how do we move forward? And how do you make that player understand the larger picture? In turn what you're doing is developing somebody for the postseason. It's about that game or that situation. It's learning from that game or that situation, whether it went really well or whether it went horribly bad. It's to get that player who has all the talent in the world and has had success at the highest level but hasn't done it in the postseason and understanding when it does come to that moment in the postseason they've been working on that the entire year. It doesn't hit them like a Mack truck when they get there and the lights go on. That's the other side of it.”