Winter Meetings interview with Friedman, Hill, Roberts

ANDREW FRIEDMAN: We're excited to be here to announce that we have re-signed Rich Hill to a three-year contract. Last year we actually came pretty close to signing Rich, last offseason and obviously traded for him last season. Whenever we're going through that process, we spend a tremendous amount of time digging into a guy's makeup, what type of competitor they are, what type of teammate and everything we got back on Rich was off the charts. But I think being around him for the three months we were, it exceeded even what our expectations were. So that, in part, is what gave us the confidence to bet on him.

What he's persevered through in his career, the type of person he is, the type of competitor fit us really well as we looked forward and was a huge priority for us as we headed into winter.

Again, we're excited to be here. We will turn it over to you guys in a minute for questions, but I'm excited to give Rich back his hat and jersey and open it up to you guys. Thank you.

RICH HILL: Well, I just want to say thank you first to the Dodgers organization for being extremely supportive and to Andrew, to Farhan, to Stan, to Dave, and, you know, the entire organization. It's been amazing.

When we get traded over here last season, being right into a contention race and having the opportunity to be around great players such as Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, and just the list goes on with the guys in that locker room last year and looking forward to continuing that next year.

I would like to thank my family who is here today, my wife Caitlin, our sons Brice and Brooks. This is great day for us, something that we always knew could be a possibility. And with the continuance of hard work and perseverance through a lot of challenges, we're here and we're looking forward to a great three years with the Dodgers.

I would also like to thank Sam, Seth, Keith, Peter and everyone at ACES for making this possible and having this all come together. They've been incredible for myself and our family and something that we're very grateful for. Thank you.

Q. Rich, I imagine some of the emotion is clearly related to the path it took to get to this moment. How close were you ever to packing it in?
RICH HILL: I don't think I was every close to packing it in. But, yeah, there is a lot of emotion up here and I kept telling myself I wouldn't do this. I think it's something that has been an incredible journey to get to this point, but never did I ever think that I would "pack it in."

I never thought I was done.

I always knew with the ability that I had and the desire that was always there was something that never left. So being able to stay healthy was one of the main things and never quit. That's the biggest thing is persevering through those times of failure. But you fail. When you fail, you learn. I don't think you really know what failure is -- or I didn't know what failure was until I got older and understood that that was experience. That's something that life teaches you and baseball teaches you. But for me, baseball has taught us how to deal with things off the field that are far greater than what you can deal with on the field.

Q. Rich, welcome back. When we spoke, you said it was your desire to be a Dodger this season. Why was this team a good fit for you and your family?
RICH HILL: It's just the fan base that's there in LA and the passion that they have. The intensity to win, that's something that we wanted and something that we wanted to come back to. We want to be a part of that, we want to bring a championship to LA.

And that's one thing that, again, as I've gotten older it's something that you learn that you only have a certain amount of time and you want to make the most out of your time that you have. Being here in LA gives us that opportunity to bring a World Series to the city. That's what we wanted.

Q. Rich, what are some of the things you learned this year that made you a better pitcher?
RICH HILL: Like I said, being around the likes of Clayton Kershaw, watching the way the guy works. I bring him up specifically because, again, of his intensity and his passion. When he goes out there and pitches, it's something that is contagious. Guys feed off that and that's what you want. That's what I hope every time that I go out there, that's what I bring and hope that guys feed off of that.

You can't compromise from that. The wins and losses are going to come and go, but your consistency of your effort is something that cannot change. You can't waiver from that. So that's really the one thing that you have to stay consistent. That's something that I've learned over my entire career, but it's definitely become more pertinent the last few years.

Q. Rich, you always talk about the idea of staying within the moment and not sort of resting on your achievements. Have you allowed yourself to savor this accomplishment and think about what it means?
RICH HILL: No, I'm not going to sit here -- because tomorrow I look forward to getting back in the gym and getting ready for Spring Training. I think that's really the best thing that anybody can do is stay in the moment.

Again, there's going to be times that you have down times or times of failure, but being consistent in your routine and I think when I stay consistent in my routine is by staying in the moment every single day, knowing what I want to do before I get to the field the day before. And when I go to the field and just get into that routine, that's part of having everything be seamless and consistent. That consistency is what builds championships and that's where winning comes from, I believe.

That's something I have been able to do over the past couple of years, even before when I was in the bullpen just being as consistent as I could every single day. That's something that -- again, that's being in the moment to me.

Q. Dave, what did you learn about Rich in the two and a half, three months you had him and did that night in Miami tell you anything about his drive and intensity?
DAVE ROBERTS: I learned a lot from Rich. And obviously when you acquire a player, you do a lot of digging. Andrew and the guys did a lot of digging and knew that he could impact us.

Once I got to learn about him and see his day-to-day and in between starts and how he was consistent with his work and how he assimilated with our guys so seamlessly, you see the competition, you see the consistency and his focus and preparation, and there's a lot of intensity and that huge competitor in him.

For me, the coaches, the organization, these are the type of players that, as Andrew said, we bet on and that we want as a part of our organization. For me, for the coaches to have him choose to be a Dodger means a lot to us. Going forward, we want guys that want to be with the Dodgers. So for Caitlin and Rich and the family to make that choice, that's big.

But I think that, you know, you mentioned Clayton Kershaw and his intensity and how he prepares, Rich mirrors that. When you get guys that lead your rotation like that, then it's contagious. We're very fortunate.

Q. Rich, when you look back -- when you got back in the big leagues in 2015, could you have envisioned anything like this happening?
RICH HILL: I've always thought it was a possibility but at the same time I think your priorities change. When you are younger, you think of -- well, when I was younger, it would be more of the thought of okay, you want to get to that point of landing a long-term deal. Now it's more 100% is on winning and that's it, period. But having that opportunity to come to an organization and come back to an organization like Los Angeles is an incredible opportunity to have that experience of going out there and contributing on every fifth day to bringing a championship back to LA.

Q. Andrew, on Clayton's contract is there a line item for recruitment value? Do you use that as a recruiting tool for a pitcher, hey, you can come work with Clayton Kershaw?
ANDREW FRIEDMAN: Obviously Clayton's reputation is tremendous, a lot respect around the league in part because of how good he is, in part because of the type of competitor he is, how hard he works. Rich being around Clayton made this situation more attractive for Rich, but I think it also inspires Clayton as well to have Rich back, the way they kind of fed off each other. That type of work ethic, that competitor I think is something that's really good for our organization with the number of young starters that we have coming up, to look at two very successful guys.

And they're not successful by accident. It's because of the work they've put in. So to have that trickle down to our young guys is significant for us.

Q. Rich, the blister issue you have, is that in the background or something you have to be conscious of?
RICH HILL: I think it is, Nick. I think it's such an outlier from last year, the way that that blister was -- how it came about, it wasn't necessarily a typical pitcher's blister that you would think of, it was more of a wound, so to speak. I think moving forward there would be no issues moving forward with that.

ANDREW FRIEDMAN: I expected it, stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. (Chuckles.)

Q. Andrew, what makes you confident in a three-year deal for a pitcher of his age?
ANDREW FRIEDMAN: Well, I think anytime in free agency there are risks that you take. Again, so much of our confidence comes from knowing him. No matter how much work you do on a guy, it's different once you experience it firsthand and be around it and see it. So having that chance and that opportunity for those three months is what gave us the confidence to bet on him in terms of the type of person he is, what kind of competitor, the work ethic, things that I've mentioned before, seeing that up close.

Then truly that burning desire to win, it's hard for me to -- there aren't ten guys that I've been around in my career that ranked as highly as Rich does in terms of having that truly innate, burning desire to win. That's something that as we're looking to continue to further the culture that we're creating, he's going to continue to be a significant part of that.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, guys.