The Los Angeles Dodgers were so enamored with Rich Hill after acquiring him in August that they have decided to keep him around with a new contract extension, announcing Monday that they had signed him to a three-year contract.

Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reported the deal is worth $48 million.  

While Hill is always a significant injury risk, there’s no denying his performance on the mound when he’s able to take the ball. 

Hill showed his capability for dominating a terrific lineup when he shut down the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. He gave up two hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings in a 6-0 win. 

When Hill is at the top of his game, even at 36 years old, there is a strong argument to be made that he’s one of the best left-handed starters in baseball. The Dodgers already have the best one (Clayton Kershaw), so keeping Hill makes perfect sense. 

The problem is Hill has never shown himself to be capable of staying healthy. He made only 20 starts in 2016 for the Dodgers and Oakland Athletics. He was traded to the Dodgers on Aug. 1, but didn’t debut for the team until Aug. 24 due to lingering blister problems. 

On Monday, Hill told reporters that his blister problems are behind him.

Since making his MLB debut in 2005 with the Cubs, Hill made 30 starts just one time and was relegated to bullpen duty from 2010-14 because it was seemingly impossible to keep him on the mound. 

Despite those injury concerns, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors did note there is recent precedent for injury-prone pitchers to get multiyear deals in free agency:

If demand is strong enough for Hill’s services, teams will simply have to make three-year offers to have a chance to sign him, even if they don’t expect the contract to end well. Hill can also make the argument that he will age well, since he’s not reliant on fastball velocity and has less mileage on his arm than a typical pitcher his age.

It also helped Hill’s free-agent case that this year’s crop of available starting pitchers is bad, to put it nicely.

The Dodgers have been burned by recent deals for free-agent pitchers like Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, but Hill brings with him a level of domination difficult to replace. He can also serve as a bridge for Julio Urias when the 20-year-old is ready and allowed by the team to take on the task of throwing 200 innings in a season.

Given the way Hill is still able to put up gaudy strikeout numbers without allowing much hard contact and keeps the ball in the park, it’s not a surprise that the Dodgers brought him on board to boost the rotation knowing he probably won’t pitch more than 120 innings during any season of his contract. 

Read more MLB news on