NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland -- The Los Angeles Dodgers wasted little time making news at the baseball winter meetings, using the first day of the annual gathering of agents, team officials and media to announce the expected three-year deal for free-agent pitcher Rich Hill.
The deal, which was agreed to this past weekend but not announced, is worth $48 million, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney.
"It's just the fan base that's there in L.A. and the passion that they have; the intensity to win, that's something that we wanted and something that we wanted to come back to," Hill said, referencing his family. "We want to be a part of that; we want to bring a championship to L.A."
Hill, 36, was a boon to the Dodgers down the stretch in 2016 after he was acquired via trade from the Oakland Athletics at the non-waiver trade deadline on Aug. 1, along with outfielder Josh Reddick. The Dodgers gave up minor league pitchers Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas and Grant Holmes to make the swap.
Hill eventually made six starts for the Dodgers after recovering from blister issues on his left hand, posting a 1.83 ERA in 43⅓ innings. He was not scored upon in his first three starts in a Dodgers uniform, even pitching seven perfect innings at Miami on Sept. 10, in a game he eventually left after 89 pitches as a precaution because of his blister issue.
In three postseason starts, Hill went 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA, pitching in the deciding Game 5 of the National League Division Series at Washington, and beating the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.
"I think anytime in free agency there are risks that you take, but so much of our confidence comes from knowing him," president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "No matter how much work you do on a guy, it's different once you experience it firsthand and be around it and see it. So having that chance and that opportunity for those three months is what gave us the confidence to bet on him in terms of the type of person he is, what kind of competitor, the work ethic, seeing that up close."
Hill is expected to be the Dodgers' No. 2 starter, behind staff ace Clayton Kershaw, putting a pair of left-handers atop the rotation.
"Rich is awesome; I'm excited to have Rich Hill back," said Kershaw, who paid a brief visit to the winter meetings. "He is so much fun to watch pitch with his competitiveness and fire. He cares and he wants to win and he wants to pitch well, and that is awesome to have. You really can't take that for granted. The guy he is off the field, in the clubhouse, I enjoy talking to him. He's a fun guy. I consider him a friend, so we're excited to have him back, for sure."
Hill said working alongside Kershaw has been an inspiration and is one of the main reasons he wanted to return to the Dodgers.
"Being around the likes of Clayton Kershaw, watching the way the guy works, I bring him up specifically because of his intensity and his passion," Hill said. "When he goes out there and pitches, it's something that is contagious. Guys feed off that, and that's what you want. That's what I hope every time that I go out there -- that's what I bring and hope that guys feed off of that."
Hill was one of the three top in-house free agents the Dodgers were interested in retaining. He was considered one of the best starting pitchers available on the open market. The club continues to negotiate with the agents for third baseman Justin Turner and closer Kenley Jansen.