John R. Ellement of the Boston Globe reports that free agent pitcher Rich Hill and his wife Caitlin were arrested outside of Gillette Stadium on Saturday prior to the start of the Bills-Patriots game. Caitlin was repeatedly trying to enter the stadium with an oversized bag and refused to leave when Foxborough police ordered her.
Rich was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest as he attempted to stop police from putting his wife into the vehicle for booking. Caitlin was charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. Their criminal charges were changed into civil infractions by the office of Norfolk D.A. Michael Morrissey. The felony charge of resisting arrest was dropped in the “interests of justice.”
As far as reasons for being arrested go, the Hills’ Saturday ranks pretty far down the list of grievous offenses. Stadium bag policies are mostly security theater anyway.
The 39-year-old lefty is a free agent, coming off an injury-shortened season with the Dodgers. He went 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA and a 72/18 K/BB ratio over 58 2/3 innings during the regular season. Hill pitched in one postseason game, starting Game 4 of the NLDS against the Nationals, a game the Dodgers lost 6-1.
Hill is expected to miss at least the first two months of the 2020 season as he underwent left elbow surgery in October. Given his age and health issues (he turns 40 in March), Hill will likely have to settle for a one-year contract if he intends to continue pitching.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.