Yankees’ signing of Tim Hill: Desperation or well-calculated step?

Tim Hill makes his Yankees debut on June 20, 2024, vs. Baltimore at Yankee Stadium, a day after his signing.
John Jones/John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Sara Molnick
Friday June 21, 2024

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The New York Yankees have made another strategic bullpen acquisition, signing left-handed reliever Tim Hill following his release from the Chicago White Sox. Despite Hill’s recent struggles, which saw him posting a 5.87 ERA and low strikeout rates, the Yankees are optimistic about his unique pitching style and his ability to induce ground balls.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone emphasized Hill’s distinctive delivery from the left side and his effectiveness against left-handed batters. According to him, the pitcher’s advanced metrics suggest he has been performing better than his traditional statistics indicate. The skipper expressed confidence that the Yankees’ coaching environment could help unlock Hill’s potential.

“It’s a different look from the left side,” he said. “A guy that really puts the ball on the ground, especially against left-handed hitters. Feel like he’s certainly performed in the big leagues in the past and I even feel like the underlying stuff would suggest he was pitching a lot better than his numbers would suggest with the White Sox too. So hopefully getting here, getting in our environment, he can become an important part of this. But we think he gives us a different look down there that can be valuable.”

The 34-year-old joined the Yankees’ bullpen starting with Thursday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Tim Hill makes his Yankees debut on June 20, 2024, vs. Baltimore at Yankee Stadium, a day after his signing.

Decoding Yankees’ strategy for Tim Hill

This move is part of a broader pattern for the Yankees, who have a history of rejuvenating pitchers’ careers. Recent successes include Michael Tonkin, who was claimed off waivers in April and has since posted an impressive 0.77 ERA. Similarly, Luke Weaver, acquired via waivers last fall and re-signed in the offseason, has become a reliable setup reliever.

The Yankees’ knack for identifying and developing pitching talent from unexpected sources continues to play a crucial role in maintaining their strong bullpen throughout the season.

New York continues to excel in transforming pitchers’ careers, with Tim Hill being their latest bullpen acquisition. Boone praised Hill’s exceptional ground-ball rate, which is third among relievers this season at 65.6 percent. Additionally, Hill has limited hard contact effectively, with only one barreled ball against him all season, placing him in the 99th percentile across the league.

Boone disclosed that the Yankees had been eyeing Hill for several weeks, even before his release from the Chicago White Sox. He suggested that Hill’s recent difficulties might be attributed to bad luck rather than a decline in performance.

Tim Hill makes his Yankees debut on June 20, 2024, vs. Baltimore at Yankee Stadium, a day after his signing.
John Jones/John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees’ penchant for acquiring pitchers with distinctive deliveries is evident in Hill’s signing. The team already includes Michael Tonkin, who throws from a low arm slot, and Scott Effross, a submariner currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Boone expressed optimism about Hill’s potential impact, emphasizing the value of a left-handed sidearm pitcher in today’s game.

This move aligns with the Yankees’ successful track record of rejuvenating pitchers such as Lucas Luetge, Ian Hamilton, and Nick Burdi. While Hill may not address the team’s need for more swing-and-miss capabilities in the bullpen, his ground-ball proficiency and unique pitching style are expected to be significant assets for the Yankees’ relief efforts.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Yankees’ signing of Tim Hill: Desperation or well-calculated step?

  1. This move is a ‘what the heck?’ move. This pitching guru group has been here since 2020, and yet, the Yankees have yet to produce any bullpen arms in this time. Finally, the other day, their first real bullpen prospect was promoted (finally!!!!) to AAA.

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