Friday, June 14, 2024

Pedro Grifol Explains White Sox Decision To Move Off Tim Hill 

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The White Sox have less than a week to trade Tim Hill or pass him through waivers after designating the left-hander for assignment on Wednesday. 

Hill was removed from the White Sox roster after outfielder Andrew Benintendi and right-hander Steven Wilson were reinstated from the injured list. Duke Ellis was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte in a corresponding move. 

The White Sox signed Hill to a one-year deal worth $1.8 million this offseason in the hopes he would be a key contributor to the bullpen that they could potentially flip at the trade deadline. 

Hill had shown the ability to be an effective reliever in the past, especially against left-handed hitters. For his career, he had limited lefties to a .223/.302/.304 slash line. However, Hill was coming off a rough 2023 campaign where he posted a career-worst 5.48 ERA and -1.2 WAR. His strikeout rate plummeted to just 12% which was well below the league average.

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The struggles continued for Hill this year. In 27 appearances for the White Sox he posted a 5.87 ERA and 11% strikeout rate. Things weren’t all bad for Hill. The 34-year-old produced a 63.8% ground ball rate, one of the MLB’s highest marks. He also managed to limit hard contact, with an average opponent exit velocity of balls put in play against him of just 87.2 mph. Like Aaron Bummer last season, Hill often fell victim to lackluster defense or soft contact that would find a hole. 

White Sox manager Pedro Grifol had worked with Hill before when he was a bench coach in Kansas City. Hill appeared in 116 games for the Royals between 2018 and 2019 while Grifol was still on the coaching staff. Grifol told the Chicago Sun-Times that he spoke with Hill the day he was DFA’d. Grifol says that it was unfortunate that they had to “make a decision like that” with a veteran pitcher. However, he added the decision to move off Hill came down to how Justin Anderson and Jared Shuster were throwing. 

“At times we put him into situations that he had to throw more than normal, but that’s where we’re at. We like what Anderson’s doing, we like what Shuster’s doing. So it’s not so much what he’s done, but it’s what he brought to us and also what these guys have been doing back there. We like Anderson. We like Shuster. These guys have done well up here and we can only keep eight back there. We can’t do more than that.” 

Anderson owns a 6.00 ERA in 12 innings of work while Shuster has a 3.76 ERA in 26.1 innings.

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