The Diamondbacks are still trying to trade second baseman Aaron Hill, but they’re having trouble as the free agent market still offers some better options including Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, and Ian Desmond, as Jon Heyman noted on Twitter.
Hill, 34 in March, will earn $12 million this season in the final year of his three-year contract with the D-Backs. He hit a meager .230/.295/.345 with six home runs and 39 RBI in 353 plate appearances last season, the second season in a row in which he was hampered by injuries and posted subpar numbers. The D-Backs wouldn’t expect much in return, even if they cover most or all of his remaining salary.
Moving Hill would allow the Diamondbacks to pursue an upgrade at second base, potentially one of the three aforementioned free agents. Kendrick and Desmond both turned down qualifying offers, so the club would have to forfeit an unprotected first round draft pick.
Could we see some last-minute wheeling and dealing prior to Opening Day. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, three familiar names are available:
We have known about the situation involving Hill, who is a bench player with the Diamondbacks now that they plan to go with Nick Ahmed as their starting shortstop and Chris Owings at second base. Moving him won’t be easy, as he’s owed $12 million for 2015 and 2016. Arizona will almost certainly have to cover a significant part of his contract to get a deal done.
Maybin is part of a logjam of outfielders in San Diego, so something has to give there before the start of the season. The former top prospect is still just 28 years old, but injuries have limited him to just 109 games over the past two seasons. He’s owed $7 million this season and $8 million for 2016 while his contract includes a $9 million club option for 2017. There’s some risk here, but he could be a decent buy-low for someone if the Padres pick up part of the tab.
There’s no urgency for the Phillies to move the 26-year-old Revere, as he’s owed $4.1 million this season and is under team control through 2017, but the club is in rebuild mode right now and plan on playing Rule 5 Draft pick Odubel Herrera in center field. This slides Revere over to left field. While Revere is a .291 career hitter and stole 49 bases last year, he only managed an OPS+ of 93. It makes sense to at least see what’s out there, as he’s going to get pricier as he continues to move through arbitration, but the Phillies could easily revisit the situation as the season moves along.
This is just speculation on my part, but the A’s could be a decent fit for either Maybin or Revere.
Aaron Hill has played exclusively second base since 2007 and has logged nearly 10,000 career innings at the position, but it sounds like the Diamondbacks are preparing to move him across the diamond.
Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks want use 24-year-old Didi Gregorius and 22-year-old Chris Owings as their new double-play duo in preparation for next season and beyond.
And because Hill is 32 years old, has struggled this season, and is owed $24 million for the next two seasons they can’t simply part ways with him, so moving him to third base is the easiest solution. For his part Hill seems fine with the move, saying:
It’s just the way it is when you’re trying to see what we’re going to do next year, and if I’m a part of that–I’m hoping so–whether it’s keeping the young guys, trading whoever, that’s just the big picture and I understand that. I told them I get it.
In the past Hill has shown the type of power most teams look for at third base and since joining the Diamondbacks in mid-2011 he’s hit a combined .283 with an .800 OPS in 394 games, which would certainly look just fine at third base. However, this season he’s hit just .243 with 10 homers and a .651 OPS in 118 games and he last saw game action at third base as a rookie for the Blue Jays in 2005. Plus, the Diamondbacks have a pretty good third base prospect in 23-year-old Jake Lamb.
Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,500. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Monday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports that the Blue Jays have heavily scouted Martin Prado, Aaron Hill, and Chase Headley. The Jays could use an upgrade at second base as they’ve been relying on the light-hitting Munenori Kawasaki. They could also use an upgrade at third base, having recently lost Brett Lawrie to a broken finger. At the very least, they could use a right-handed hitter to platoon with Juan Francisco.
All three hitters, however, are having poor seasons. Prado and Hill have a .673 and .653 OPS for the Diamondbacks, respectively. Headley has a .605 OPS for the Padres. Headley is earning just over $10.5 million and can venture into free agency after the season. Prado is owed $11 million for this season as well as in each of the next two seasons. Hill is earning $11 million this season and $12 million in 2015-16.
The Jays enter Friday’s action at 47-40 in a virtual tie with the Orioles for first place in the AL East. They lead the third-place Yankees by 3.5 games.
The assumption when Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill suffered a nonunion fracture in his left hand back in April was that he would require a surgical procedure over the offseason to fix it. But there was good news on that front Saturday.
According to Nick Piecoro and Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic, an MRI taken this weekend on Hill’s left hand showed considerable healing — so much so that the Diamondbacks medical staff has ruled out that planned offseason surgery.
“They said it’s like 80 percent healed,” Hill told the Republic on Saturday night. “In the last two months, it’s decided to heal. My last MRI, I think it was two months ago, nothing had changed. (Hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan) called me yesterday and said, ‘You won’t believe this!’ … We didn’t want to do surgery anyway, and now this definitely confirms that we won’t.”
One of the more underrated hitters in all of Major League Baseball, Hill has batted .301/.362/.501 with 39 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 142 RBI in 275 games since joining the Diamondbacks in late 2011.