After hashing out 'issue' with front office, Rich Hill excited to be a Met

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Rich Hill Mets debut
Rich Hill Mets debut

There was a rumor going around that Rich Hill was initially displeased to learn that he had been traded to the Mets, so I decided to ask him about it.

According to league sources, the Mets pursued Hill in free agency last winter, and he was not happy with how the negotiation went. After the team turned away from him, he signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Last Friday -- after the trade surfaced in media reports but before it became official -- conversations between Hill’s representatives at ACES and Mets acting GM Zack Scott smoothed over lingering hard feelings.

Hill did not dispute this version of events when I presented it to him, but emphasized that he was now happy to be a Met, and that whatever had bothered him was now resolved.

“I think that’s between us,” Hill said of the specific issue. “That’s where I’ll keep it. But, ended up in Tampa, and we’re happy to be [in New York now].

“We were able to hash out whatever the issue. I think a lot of stuff had to do with whatever was here before, and things have changed since then.”

The Mets front office was in transition last fall and winter, with Brodie Van Wagenen, Sandy Alderson, Jared Porter and Scott running baseball operations at different junctures. Hill said he didn’t recall who was at the helm during those failed talks.

Either way, it’s behind him now -- and he’s ready to chase a championship with the Mets.

“I’m so happy to be here now, and we’re in a good spot to win,” Hill said. “The main goal is to win a World Series. I talk about that at pretty much free will. I want everybody to get used to that and get their mind in that mode. The opportunity is right there. It’s for us to take. We just have to grab the bull by the horns and take it.”

As a former member of the Cubs, Red Sox and Dodgers, Hill is well-acquainted with big-market pressure, and welcomes a return to it.

“I love big markets,” he said. “I have played in every big market. I love everything that comes with it. The rawness of it, the reality of being honest. I think that’s the biggest thing that fans want in a big market. If you suck, you suck. If you do well, great, that’s what you’re supposed to do.

“They just want to know that guys aren’t trying to say, ‘Well, I threw the ball well’ when you didn’t. The true honesty is what fans appreciate. But even more than that, the effort and the hustle.”

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