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Veteran pitcher Rich Hill said his reason for choosing to sign with the Rays as a free agent was simple.
“The opportunity to win, and win now,” Hill said after Thursday’s first spring workout in Port Charlotte. “I don’t think it’s any secret I’m trying to win a World Series and somewhat, I guess if you want to say, chase it.
“I think once you’ve been there a couple times and fallen short, it’s really kind of become like an obsession. That’s the only thing. You want to get back there and finish it. Really, that’s it. I think Tampa was our best option and opportunity to do to get to that point.”
Hill has pitched 16 seasons in the majors, making it to the postseason five times. He played in the World Series twice, with the Dodgers in 2017 and ’18, and came out on the wrong side both times.
He signed with the Twins last year and helped them to the AL Central title and was expected to pitch had they advanced past the first round of the playoffs.
Hill, who turns 41 in March, had interest from a number of teams, including the Brewers, Mets, Red Sox and one of the Chicago teams before deciding on a one-year, $2.5 million offer from the Rays.
He has a longstanding relationship with Rays manager Kevin Cash, as a teammate in Boston and as his bullpen coach in Cleveland. Hill has been impressed with what the Rays have done and how they do things, which includes using openers and defensive shifts, a tactic he hasn’t always been a fan of.
“Want to help the team win, and not just help the team win but be a big part of it,” Hill said. “And I think being a part of that is leading by example. Going out there, I always talk about intensity and passion, and you’ve got to have those two things to go out there and compete.”