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.
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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.