Shawn Hill's 2014 season has been a whirlwind of change. Hill was all set to become the newest member of the York Revolution until the Toronto Blue Jays signed him to a minor league deal at the end of March.
There is only handful of Canadians to have played for the Blue Jays, let alone play for them on three spearate occasions.
Hill spent all of 2010 with the Blue Jays organization. He started four games, recorded a win and posted a very nice 2.61 ERA. The Blue Jays let him go after the season and sat out all of 2011 after being released by the Florida Marlins in April. Again, the Blue Jays signed Hill for after he put together a dominant 27 inning scoreless streak with the independent Revolution. With the Revolution he went 2-0 with a 2.43 ERA in seven games. Hill was promoted to Triple-A Buffalo by the Blue Jays and preceded to go 9-2.
Hill was granted free agency after 2012 and signed with Detroit Tigers. The Tiger granted him free agency at the conclusion of 2013 after posting a four win, 14-loss season at Toledo.
Despite all his exposure to the professional ranks, Hill has never really had that full audition in the major leagues. In parts of seven big league seasons he's appeared in 45 games winning 10. However, Hill has always shown that he has the innate ability to get hitters out, regardless of whatever team he's playing on or league he's playing in.
12 years in the minor leagues is a lifetime, but every year Hill does enough to get on the radar. His career 3.62 ERA in over 870 innings is a testament to his skill to get the job done. Unfortunately, he is one of hundreds of players out there who falls into that 4-A category: He's good enough for Triple-A and puts up good enough numbers. At the major league level he can never seem to match that success. Travis Snider is a prime example of that curse, so is Eric Thames and Eddie Zosky.
So far in 2014 Hill has struggled. He's been promoted to Triple-A Buffalo, and in four appearances the result has been anything but positive. He is 0-2, his ERA is 5.76 and he's been hit pretty consistently. Batters are teeing off at a .326 after two games with the Bisons, up nearly .160 points from Double-A.
Currently, the Blue Jays are surprisingly looking like the team that could take control of a pedestrian American League East. And with the revolving door of middle relief pitchers coming through Toronto, an appearance by Hill at some point this year could happen.
Shawn Hill might not be a household name and there is a chance a call-up may not happen, but as history has told us, Hill can get the outs when he needs, and whatever team he plays for he will toe rubber at any given time.