Last year it was John Patterson, this year it’s Shawn Hill. The Nationals released Hill today, apparently due to continued uncertainty about his health. Recent reports stated that he was feeling better, so this move is a bit of a surprise. I had thought he would be given a bit more time, but I guess the front office got impatient. Bill Ladson has reported on Nationals.com that manager Manny Acta “pointed out that it was an organizational decision.”
Hill will be paid 1/6 of the $775,000 he was supposed to be paid this season. I’m not sure it this is accurate, but I heard that this is the final day a player can be cut for 1/6 of his salary. Hill did win arbitration, so this move may have as much to do with money as it has to do with his health.
I feel bad for Hill about this, particularly after reading on Nationals.com that “Hill took the news badly and had tears in his eyes.” But the fact he has already experienced forearm soreness, by early March, didn’t bode well for him. He can’t help the team if he ends up back on the DL.
The other big news for the Nationals today is that they signed free agent lefty reliever Joe Beimel. I think this is a great signing for the Nats, especially since Mike Hinckley has struggled so far this spring. I checked Beimel’s stats for the Dodgers last season — he appeared in 71 games, had a W/L record of 5-1, gave up no home runs, and had a 2.02 ERA. Very solid…this instantly strengthens a weak bullpen. I’m pumped about this signing!