A strong six-week audition landed Aaron Hill a two-year, $10 million contract with the Diamondbacks, the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro reports.
Hill, a pretty abysmal regular in his final year and two-thirds with the Blue Jays, hit .315/.386/.492 in 33 games after coming over from Toronto with John McDonald for Kelly Johnson in August. The second baseman, who turns 30 in March, carried the hot streak into October, going 5-for-18 with a homer and five walks in the NLDS loss to the Brewers.
Hill had a career year in 2009, when he hit .286/.330/.499 with a whopping 36 homers and 108 RBI. However, he fell off to .205/.271/.394 in 2010 and continued to struggle for 4 1/2 months this year. Prior to his run with Arizona, Hill hit .225/.270/.313 in 396 at-bats with the Jays.
The $10 million bet seems a reasonable one for the Diamondbacks. Hill remains a bit above average defensively at second base, and it’s entirely possible that he’ll reemerge as a 25-homer guy next year. It probably won’t come with a very good OBP, so he’s better cast as a No. 6 or 7 hitter than the No. 2 man he’s often been in the past. Still, one could argue that he’s the best bet of the second basemen available, with the aforementioned Johnson serving as his top competition.
Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com reports that the Diamondbacks have a multi-year offer on the table for Aaron Hill. They want an answer from him by Monday.
The fact of the offer is not news — Nick Piecoro reported this earlier this week — but then it was said to have been an open-ended thing with nothing imminent. Magurder’s report of the deadline is new. Perchance Kevin Towers is trying to spur Mr. Hill into action one way or the other.
It has been infielderpalooza for Arizona so far this fall. They have already signed John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist. Hill is the most valuable of the bunch by far, of course, having hit .315/.386/.492 in 33 games after being acquired from the Jays.
According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks have submitted a contract offer to Aaron Hill.
Hill became a free agent last week when the Diamondbacks declined his $8 million options for 2012 and 2013. It doesn’t appear as though a new agreement is imminent, though, as Piecoro notes that the offer has an unspecified deadline attached and the Diamondbacks expect Hill to take his time before making a decision.
Hill, who turns 30 in March, batted .246/.299/.356 with eight homers and 61 RBI over 571 plate appearances this season, including a .315 batting average and an .878 OPS in 33 games with Arizona after being acquired from the Blue Jays in August.
Neither of these moves come as a huge surprise, but the Diamondbacks announced this evening that they have declined their club options on Aaron Hill and Zach Duke.
Hill’s contract included a pair of $8 million options for 2012 and 2013. The 29-year-old second baseman played well after being acquired from the Blue Jays in August, batting .315/.386/.492 with two homers, 16 RBI and an .878 OPS over 142 plate appearances. The small sample of success wasn’t enough to convince Arizona GM Kevin Towers to make the hefty investment, but they are interesting in retaining him at a lesser salary.
Duke, who was acquired from the Pirates last December, will receive a $750,000 buyout rather than a $5.5 million salary in 2012. The 28-year-old left-hander didn’t make his season debut until May due to a broken hand and ended up posting a disappointing 4.93 ERA and 32/19 K/BB ratio over 76 2/3 innings. He was banished to the bullpen following the All-Star break.
The Diamondbacks also exercised mutual options on utility infielder Willie Bloomquist and backup catcher Henry Blanco. Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that Bloomquist will become a free agent after declining his portion of the mutual option, but that he is interested in returning as part of a multi-year contract. If Blanco opts to exercise his part of the mutual option, he will earn $1.15 million in 2012.
Aaron Hill registered a cool .315/.386/.492 batting line with two home runs, 16 RBI and five stolen bases in 142 plate appearances after joining the Diamondbacks via trade in late August. He also posted a solid .879 OPS in the NLDS. But the Arizona front office is well aware that great results over a small sample size don’t mean much.
According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the D’Backs have not made a decision about Hill’s $8 million club option for 2012. And they have no immediate plans to discuss a multi-year pact.
Here’s general manager Kevin Towers:
“I don’t really want to get into where we’re at, but I don’t want to get too crazy about six weeks (of production). There’s a reason they moved him and a reason we moved Kelly (Johnson). … We’ll probably talk again next week. I’ll probably lob a call to him.”
Hill showed flashes of superb offensive production while in Toronto, slugging 36 homers in 2009 and 26 homers in 2010, but he’s never had high on-base numbers and his defense at second base is merely average.