Tuesday's MLB: Twins sign pitchers Homer Bailey, Rich Hill

LaVelle E. Neal III
Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minneapolis — The Twins signed starting pitchers Homer Bailey and Rich Hill to one-year contracts Tuesday.

The 33-year-old Bailey is a 13-year major league veteran who split last season between Kansas City and Oakland, going 13-9 with a 4.57 ERA in 31 starts. In 243 major league games, all starts, the right-hander is 80-86 with a 4.57 ERA.

His contract will be worth $7 million with incentives if he reaches 180 innings, a major league source told the Star Tribune.

Rich Hill

Bailey’s best season came in 2013 when he was 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA for the Reds and had 199 strikeouts in 209 innings. Cincinnati gave him a six-year, $105 million contract extension at that point, but he had arm trouble in 2014 and had Tommy John surgery in 2015. More arm surgery followed; in 2018 he was 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA and the Reds traded him in a salary dump to the Dodgers, who released him.

After signing a minor league deal with Kansas City, Bailey was 7-6 for the Royals last season. They traded him to the A’s at the deadline, and he was 6-3 for a playoff team.

Hill, a left-hander who starred at Michigan, will be 40 on Opening Day. He has pitched for eight teams in 15 seasons, and had only 13 starts for the Dodgers last season because of portion of the UCL in his left elbow detached. He had surgery in October and will be out until at least June. Hill was 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 48⅔ innings last season.

His contract is for $3 million, with incentives worth close to $10 million, a source confirmed.

In 2013, Hill made 63 appearances in relief for the Cleveland, but shortly thereafter turned his career around by adding a devastating curveball. The major problem with throwing his curve is that it tears the skin on the side of his middle finger, and that has limited him, although he made 25 starts in both 2017 and 2018 for the Dodgers’ World Series teams.

He has also pitched for the Red Sox, Cubs, A’s, Angels, Yankees and Orioles.

In 3½ seasons in Los Angeles, Hill started 68 games and had a 3.16 ERA and a 7.1 WAR. In 50 innings in the playoffs, his ERA was 2.70; his last contract with the Dodgers was for three years and $48 million.

Hill and his wife made headlines on Dec. 22 when they were detained by police at an NFL game between Buffalo and New England in Foxborough, Mass.

Caitlin Hill repeatedly tried to enter Gillette Stadium with an oversized bag, and as police took her into custody, Rich Hill was also arrested because he tried to stop them. On Dec. 23, they both were ordered to pay $500 fines for civil infractions. Hill released a statement where he said, “Seeing my wife handcuffed for a problem that started because of her fanny pack was extremely difficult for me to witness. This was all overblown and we are glad to have it behind us.”

The Twins’ starting rotation is not exactly set because neither Hill nor Michael Pineda, who is serving 39 more games of a suspension for using a banned diuretic, will be ready for the season opener on March 28.

Barring injuries, Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi and Bailey appear likely to be the top three coming out of spring training. Until Hill and Pineda are ready, it’s likely Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak and/or Lewis Thorpe will be in the starting mix. Unlike last season, when the first month of the season was marked by off-days and the Twins needed only four starters, in 2020 the team has only four off-days from the start of the schedule on March 26 until May 7.

The Twins, two major league sources confirmed, are still very much in the running for free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson.

Personnel dept.

The Diamondbacks signed outfielder Kole Calhoun to a two-year contract with a club option for 2022.

... The Blue Jays agreed to a $4 million, one-year contract with free agent infielder Travis Shaw.

Associated Press contributed.