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Who Could Fill Rich Hill’s Rotation Spot?

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Bailey Falter, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates made a plethora of trades on Tuesday’s deadline, and one leaves them with a void on the roster.

The Pirates shipped left-hander Rich Hill to the San Diego Padres as part of a five-player trade and the Bucs are now down a man in their starting rotation.

Hill may not have been an ace, but the crafty veteran sure was an innings eater. At the time of the trade, the 43-year-old was second on the team in innings pitched (119.0) across his 22 starts.

Hill’s departure leaves the Pirates with a decision on their hands. Who will fill the southpaw’s spot in the rotation?

There are a handful of candidates who could find themselves in the mix. Here are some names to keep in mind.

RHP Luis Ortiz

Since getting optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, Ortiz hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire, but he’s a healthy arm who can step into the rotation if needed.

In four starts since returning to Indianapolis, Ortiz has posted a dreadful 7.98 ERA (13er/14.2). His last start, however, was an improvement. The young right-hander only allowed one run in 5.0 innings pitched and and struck out a season-high eight batters.

Ortiz struggled with the Pirates this season, pitching to a 4.86 ERA across 11 appearances (10 starts).

Despite his struggles, Ortiz is squarely in the mix to rejoin the Pirates’ rotation.

LHP Bailey Falter

In another trade at the deadline, the Pirates shipped Rodolfo Castro to the Philadelphia Phillies for Falter, a 26-year-old left-handed pitcher.

Falter has plenty of big league experience. In parts of three seasons with the Phillies, he made 50 appearances (24 starts). In those games, he went 8-12 with a 4.56 ERA.

The lefty struggled in the big leagues this season with the Phillies, going 0-7 with a 5.13 ERA along with a slightly better 4.74 FIP.

Ben Cherington said Falter is a guy who the Pirates have had their eye on for awhile. Maybe they’ll replace one left-hander with another.

LHP Cam Alldred

Alldred made his major league debut last season with the Pirates and threw a scoreless inning of relief. Outside of that, he hasn’t had any other big league experience.

This year, Alldred has spent the entire season with Triple-A Indianapolis and has made 23 appearances (11 starts). On the year, the recently-turned, 27-year-old is 7-3 with a 4.95 ERA.

Alldred wouldn’t be a flashy choice, but again, he has a healthy arm.

RHP Andre Jackson

This one is a bit of a wildcard. Jackson was acquired by the Pirates from the Los Angeles Dodgers in June.

While he has plenty of starting experience in his professional career, he hasn’t been stretched out much this year between the Dodgers and Pirates’ organizations.

Since joining the Pirates, the 27-year-old has logged 9.2 innings pitched in four appearances (two starts) and has allowed four runs on six hits while walking six and striking out 12.

If Jackson were to be recalled, he in all likelihood wouldn’t provide a ton of length and could be on the front or back end of a piggy-back situation.

RHP Jared Jones

This scenario is probably the least likely of the five listed as Jones is the only one who currently has a notable prospect status and the Pirates will not want to derail his development.

Jones, who is considered to be the Pirates’ 10th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, is 2-1 with a 4.72 ERA in seven appearances (six starts) with Triple-A Indianapolis since being promoted from Double-A midseason.

The safe assumption would be that Jones still needs time to develop, but I guess you can’t rule anything out for now.

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