Generally speaking, a rumor in this business is built on the foundation of a beat reporter with a source. The beat guy hears something, tweets it, and the rumors spreads. In this case, I have every intention of spreading a rumor from some guy I follow on Twitter - not a beat writer, but still a good writer and a member of the SB Nation community. Just kidding! It's not a rumor, just a suggestion.
With the Padres continuing to look at bullpen help, the club has a wide range of options. They can pursue another trade, they can sign a relatively big name free agent, or they can go with a low-risk/high-reward type deal. Rich Hill would fit in the latter category, and his name only hit me thanks to Steve Kinsella of DRays Bay and Sports Talk Florida.
Hill is not a superstar. He's not a prospect. He's not someone you'd expect to be high on a team's radar. Which means he's a perfect fit for San Diego! Aside from the Joaquin Benoit signing, the Padres are not ones to make a splash often in trades or free agent signings. They can't afford to be. So, they have to be smart and look at players with big upside considering their cost.
Clearly, the Padres are interested in lefties. Hill is a lefty. Bingo. Done deal. Well, actually the possibility goes beyond the simple fact that Hill is a southpaw. He would likely come very cheap if San Diego were to offer him a deal. As Kinsella suggested, he may even be willing to take a minor league deal if he gets an invite to Major League camp this Spring. Hill is a veteran, but he's bounced between the minors and Majors throughout his career, never really sticking anywhere too long.
Hill began his career as a starter with the Chicago Cubs. He was solid in 2007 when he posted an 11-8 record, complimented with a 3.92 ERA. However, he failed to impress in any of his other four seasons as a starter. Hill was eventually shifted to the bullpen when he joined the Boston Red Sox in 2010. As a reliever, Hill fared a bit better. He has a 4.44 career ERA as a reliever compared to a 4.80 career ERA as a starter. So, like I said - he's not a superstar or a prospect. He's a Major League pitcher who can occasionally get outs.
But San Diego doesn't need Hill to do too much. Perhaps Hill could fit in a role where he was used infrequently and only in situations where he was facing a lefty hitter. I'm not sure Hill would fit the role of a left-handed specialist perfectly, but he could certainly give the Padres a little bit more to work with in the pen.
Considering Hill made $1 million with the Cleveland Indians last year and did not pitch well, it's easy to see the Padres giving him not much more than league minimum if he were to make the Major League roster.
Again, this is nothing more than a passing suggestion for a player who is available. It is not a rumor. But hey, if it turns into a rumor, and if the Padres sign him, I will gladly take credit for putting the article out there.