For the first time in many years, I get to say that the Baltimore Orioles made an excellent move. I would be very willing to say that the way that the Chicago Cubs treated Rich Hill in their 2008 season was probably as a result of their excellent pitching depth and the trade for Rich Harden and emergence of Ryan Dempster did not help either. Yet, I think it was a terrible move to demote a guy that was probably the second best pitcher on their staff and not give him a second chance to show his 2007 form, that was probably the second best pitcher on their staff (11-8; 3.92). He has a filthy curveball and is ready to get that second chance. What hurt him in 2008 was his control, walking 18 in 19.2 IP, and after allowing 63 walks in 195 IP the previous season, he will walk batters. Though, it is reasonable to expect that his control will improve.
I am very excited to see Hill in an Orioles uniform. Further, I expect him to pitch better than Rich Harden and Ryan Dempster in 2009 as I anticipate injuries to Harden and a fall back to average play for Dempster. Hill however has something to prove to his now old club and will have very little pressure in Baltimore. His challenge will be facing the dominant AL East teams. He has a great curveball in his arsenal and could be successful like Ted Lilly was with Toronto in 2007, using a very similar 12-6 curve against the same division.
I love this move, and I wish Rich Hill success in 2009 and perhaps the Orioles may crawl from the cellar with catching prospect Matt Weiters coming very soon.